Kenya government deploys army to
flush out militia group
(Clearinghouse note: AngolaPress seems to have mixed up
something here, since 500 deaths in skirmishes between Gikuyu and
Turkana in the past one week can not be confirmed)
Nairobi, Kenya, 03/10 - A contingent of 1,000 military personnel
has been dispatched to quell insurgency in Eastern Kenya where a
militia group calling itself Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) is
said to be committing atrocities, the Kenya Television Network (KTN)
reported in Nairobi on Monday.
According to the report, the army, backed by the police and
paramilitary General Service Unit moved into the area around Mt
Elgon on the Kenya-Uganda border at dawn to flush out the militia
group claiming to be fighting for the right to won land.
SLDF militiamen are alleged to have killed more than 500 people
and displaced hundreds of others after their houses were torched
in the area in the past three months in what Kenya authorities
termed a dispute over land resources not connected to recent
The army is said to be using helicopter gun-ships, cannons and
heavy artillery trucks. Tension is said to be high after the army
began hunting down the insurgents. The area has been sealed off
from the media.
The Sabaots, who have been demanding restitution over land, are
the indigenous people around Mt Elgon in Rift Valley Province.
They have accused successive Kenya regimes of marginalising them
and grabbing their fertile land.
SLDF, which shot to the public limelight two years ago as
vigilante group defending the community`s right to own land, poses
a major security risk in an area traditionally referred to as
Kenya`s breadbasket as it produces most to the food t h e country
needs. Farmers have been forced out of their land and in some
cases crop plantations set on fire.
The deployment of the army in western Kenya, which was adversely
affected by post-election violence, took place as fresh ethnic
clashes flared up between pastoralists and farmers in Laikipia,
central Kenya, over diminishing grazing land and water resources.
According to police reports, at least 500 people have been killed
in the past one week in ethnic violence that pits President Mwai
Kibaki Kikuyu community and the Turkana cattle herders.