News 2008


Get to the root of Mt Elgon killings


Joseph Mambili, Nairobi

10. March 2008

THE KILLING of more than 10 people at the outskirts of Kitale by a gang which is claimed to be Sabaot Land Defence Force is chilling coming as it does at a time when the country is healing.

The recurrent killings, burning of houses and displacement of people that have gone on in Mt Elgon for long, seem to be extending to nearby regions. This should not be allowed to go on.

As it is, one would be mistaken to think the region operates under its own set of rules. How else do you explain the impunity with which the gangs attack the locals? How is it possible that the gang retreats to the nearby forest only to return to wipe out entire families?

It is indeed easy to rush for quick solutions like sending in the police to arrest suspected members, kill others and send the rest to court. However, that may not achieve much unless we get to the root cause of the killings: Is it land? Or is it a militia gone out of hand? Who is funding the group? What needs to be done to weed it out?

The Mt Elgon problem must be taken head on and solved, even if it means relocating the Minister of Internal Security and top security officials to the region.