News 2008


Militia killed in Mt. Elgon security operation

March 6, 2008


By Osinde Obare and Robert Wanyonyi

Two suspected Sabaot Land Defence Force fighters have reportedly been gunned down.

A police source said the two were shot dead and 10 others arrested on Tuesday evening in a security operation at Teldet Forest, along the Trans-Nzoia-Mt Elgon border.

On Monday, police launched a hunt for the SLDF fighters responsible for the killing of 13 people in Embakasi market in Trans-Nzoia West District.

The militiamen hacked, shot or burnt to death the victims in their huts on Monday.

The Government dispatched a helicopter to help track down the militia in the forest.

Security forces flew over the forest propelling grenades and intensified ground operation to smoke out the militia.

A source said the fighters were hiding in caves inside the forest to evade the explosives.

But Kitale OCPD, Mr Bernard Muli, denied knowledge of the killings and promised to give details of the operation later.

"No casualty has been reported so far, but the operation will continue until we wipe out these criminals," said Muli.

The district security team summoned local chiefs for a meeting to discuss the deteriorating security.

DCs, Mr Seif Matata (Trans-Nzoia East), and Francis Mutie (Trans-Nzoia West), chaired a joint meeting with the chiefs to map out strategies to fight crime.

Matata said officers had been deployed to patrol Kabolet forest where suspected Pokot cattle raiders were hiding.

The raiders have attacked residents, killing several and driving away hundreds of cattle. Police have also released the names of those killed on Monday.

Meanwhile, the security operation in Mt Elgon District entered its second day yesterday, with hundreds of residents fleeing to the surrounding lowlands. As the operation went on yesterday, several houses in Kisawai were burning.

Mutie said two more helicopters would be arriving from Nairobi to boost the hunt for the militia.

He announced that the Government had crucial information as well as names of some politicians believed to be funding the activities of the SLDF.

Leaders from the local Anglican Church of Kenya had opposed the police operation, saying innocent people might suffer.

The leaders claimed the security officers were torching houses and beating up women and children in the name of hunting down the SLDF.

"We are not against efforts to restore law and order in this region, but we donít want to see police apply the law selectively," one man had said.