Army offensive on Kenya militia
Monday, 10 March 2008
Kenya's army has launched a huge military operation targeting a
militia which has killed some 500 people in a land dispute over
the past 18 months.
The army is using heavy artillery, hundreds of troops and
helicopter gunships, in the Mount Elgon forests near the border
They are targeting the Sabaot Land Defence Forces (SLDF) which was
blamed for the killing of 12 people last week.
The militia has also been accused of links to recent political
Kenyan MPs are expected to meet on Tuesday to start discussing the
power-sharing deal designed to end the violence following
December's disputed election.
Thousands of people have fled their homes fearing being caught up
in the fighting.
The operation began under cover of darkness as hundreds of Kenyan
troops were driven in trucks to prepare for an offensive against
Reporters have been been told not to go into the area.
The SLDF has been carrying out an increasing number of attacks on
villages, killing people, stealing cattle and destroying homes.
They claim to be fighting for land which they say belongs to the
Sabaot clan of the Kalenjin community.
Correspondents say the instability in Mount Elgon is not directly
related to the violence that erupted in Kenya after December's
disputed presidential election.
But long-standing land disputes between different ethnic groups
have overlapped with political divisions in some areas.