News 2008


Women oppose police search in Mt Elgon


March 10, 2008

By Allan Kisia, Robert Wanyonyi and Isaiah Lucheli

Women from Mt Elgon have expressed concern over the impending security operation to flush out Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) militia.

The women said innocent people, including women and children, were harassed and sometimes killed in such operations.

Mrs Christine Osuka, an ActionAid official, said children could not attend school in such times. "Some criminals also take advantage of such operations to rape women and commit other crimes," Osuka said. Ms Linet Chemtai, an ODM nominated councillor in Mt Elgon, said the district was peaceful and trouble had only been reported in Trans-Nzoia. "Security operations in Mt Elgon will interfere with this year’s planting season," added Chemtai.

The two made the remarks after holding a procession in Kapsokwony division in Mt Elgon to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The procession was characterised by peace and reconciliation messages.

Ms Jennifer Mbatiany, the chairperson of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation in Mt Elgon, said officers should be careful when carrying out operations in the district, and should not harass or mistreat innocent people. "Women and children suffer the most as they cannot run as fast as men," she said.

Mbatiany said the Government should include women in peace meetings to end clashes in the area.

"We are in a better position to pass peace messages than our male counterparts," she added.

Meanwhile, police recovered 31 cows and arrested two suspected cattle rustlers following a fierce exchange of gunfire in Kapolet Forest in Trans-Nzoia District. Police cordoned off the forest, which served as a hideout for the bandits terrorising residents of Munyaka and Bahati villages.

A contingent of administration and regular police started combing the forest on Saturday night after the raiders attacked the villages, killed six people and stole more than 1,000 livestock.

Cherangany MP, Mr Joshua Kutuny, said the bandits had taken advantage of post-election violence to terrorise villagers and steal livestock.