Army hunts for Mt Elgon militia
Story by FRED MUKINDA
A former nominated MP is among prominent people being sought by
the military over their involvement in Sabaot Land Defence Force
This is contained in a report that shows military operations in Mt
Elgon District as having entered another phase — that of tracking
down SLDF financiers. It was released on Tuesday as the military
declared victory against SLDF members, three months after their
operation started in the district.
“We are now embarking on the next step to follow up the financiers
of SLDF,” Colonel Stephen Boiywo, who is the head of military
operations in the area, said.
Some of the alleged sponsors cited in the report, whose identities
we cannot reveal for legal reasons, include a former MP,
councillors and political party activists. Another suspect topping
the list is only described in the report as a “prominent
Col Boiywo presented the report to Cabinet ministers George
Saitoti (Internal Security) and Yusuf Haji (Defence) at the
Kapkota military camp in the district. Some Government officers
are mentioned in the report as having worked for the militia.
“The late Matakwei’s gang had a lot of informers within the
country’s security agencies,” the report adds.
Until he was gunned down, Wycliffe Matakwei was the commander of
the SLDF, which is accused of having executed 714 people since
2006. The ministers toured the district and visited Kopsiro, one
of the areas that was hit hard by SLDF fighters.
They laid a foundation stone at Panandega and commissioned the
construction of a permanent base for the military. Troops moved to
the area last March following a failed operation by police,
including officers from the General Service Unit.
Hundred of rifles have been recovered so far. Sophisticated
weapons, including a bazooka and rocket-propelled grenades, were
also seized. Such weapons, which the soldiers said had been bought
and smuggled from Uganda, can bring down a helicopter or demolish
an entire military camp.
“I want to assure you that the military will not leave. We’ve
troops on all our borders and why not here, at the border with
Uganda?” Mr Haji said.
Prof Saitoti said more police stations would be set up and
existing ones strengthened by equipping them with sophisticated
weapons. Said Col Boiywo: “Our activities were not as bad as some
people have been saying.”