News 2008

 

Now Army joins war on militia



Daily Nation

Story by BERNARD KWALIA and KENNEDY MASIBO

11. March 2008



Soldiers have been deployed in Mount Elgon and Trans Nzoia districts to flush out militiamen causing mayhem in the area.

They arrived in the districts on Sunday and will conduct air-to-ground operations.

The operation in the region where militia groups have since early last year caused havoc is seen as the Governmentís first step to assist the police in dealing with outlawed groups in the country.

The operation is likely to move to other places like Kuresoi, Sotik-Borabu and Laikipia.

The soldier are backed by five helicopters and several armoured vehicles and tanks. They camped at Kapkoto in Cheptais Division and Malakisi in Teso District before the operation.

The officers sealed off all outlets of the two districts and also manned the Kenya-Uganda border to ensure the militiamen did not escape. The Government also declared a 7pm to 7am curfew in the two districts.

The militia include Sabaot Land Defence Forces (SLDF), Mooreland Forces (MF) and the newly formed Political Revenge Movement (PRM).

The soldiers - who teamed up with the General Service Unit (GSU), regular police, Anti-Stock Theft Unit and Administration Police (AP) - were dispatched to the larger Mt Elgon Forest and Cheptais to crack down on the militia.

By 6am Monday, they had mounted an intensive operation at Kamaran, Kaptaboi, Chesiro and Kilgut in Cheptais, Mt Elgon District, believed to be an SLDF hideout. They bombed a number of caves used by the militia as their armouries.

Western provincial commissioner Abdul Mwasera confirmed that the operation was on but said it was too early for him to comment on the matter.

Restore peace

Villagers in Cheptais feared the operation was likely to target innocent people since information had leaked to the militiamen 10 days ago, prompting them to escape to other neighbouring districts and Uganda.

Area MP Fred Kapondi criticised the Government for launching the operation in the district when calm had returned.

Mr Kapondi said similar operations by the police in the district in the past one and half years, had failed. He called on the Government to resort to dialogue to restore peace in the area.

Speaking to the Daily Nation by telephone, Mr Kapondi said the operation would affect farmers in the area, who had returned to their homes and were ready for this seasonís planting programme.

He was disappointed that the Government could conduct such an operation in the district on grounds that neighbouring districts had started experiencing insecurity.

In Nakuru, Rift Valley PC Noor Hassan announced the imposition of a partial curfew in the larger Trans Nzoia District from Monday.

Mr Hassan said districts affected are Trans Nzoia West, Trans Nzoia East and Kwanza.

The curfew will run until further instructions from the Government.

He said the move follows security threats in the area where 12 people were killed by a militia group recently.

 

 

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