14 March 2008

Kenya: Army Blocks Media From Elgon

SOLDIERS on Wednesday blocked the media from Mt Elgon even as claims of excessive use of force against civilians emerged. Also barred, were humanitarian organisations, including the Red Cross Society.

The Kenya Army mounted roadblocks along Namwela-Lwakhakha road to ensure that the Press and charities did not enter the district, saying it was an operation zone.

Reporters and photographers from the Nation, Standard, KTN, NTV and Royal Media who had sneaked into the district were frogmarched and ordered to delete pictures and footage from their cameras. Red Cross Society volunteers were harassed in the presence of the media and ordered to leave.

The provincial security team were said to have summoned the Standard and KTN reporters to appear before the police, but they declined. The society's Bungoma and Mt Elgon branch chairman Mahmoud Said said the organisation had suspended mobilising the displaced.

Also put on hold, is the distribution of food and farm input in Cheptais Division where the military had intensified operations.

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