President Kibaki yesterday moved to secure the country by effecting major changes in the security docket before declaring that terrorists and other criminals will be hunted down in all corners of the country. Kibaki warned those planning to destabilise Kenya that the government will not relent in the pursuit of the country's enemies.
He said the government has mobilised the necessary resources and manpower to catch terrorists and other criminals bent on distracting Kenyans from productive activities. Even as he spoke at the Nakuru showground during the official opening of the 2012 ASK Nakuru National Show, senior police officers refuted claims of a terror threat at the event.
PPO Francis Munyambu told the Star on phone that his officers had arrested "petty offenders" and denied claims that a suspect was nabbed trying to smuggle two grenades in a bag into the showground. "We arrested petty thieves and pick pockets, we have no such information of grenades," he said.
PC Osman Warfa said a woman had falsely claimed her partner was carrying a grenade after the couple had disagreed. "It was a lovers' quarrel and the angry woman made false claims which were investigated and found not to be true," Warfa said. A security manager at the showground who refused to be named said a young man thought to be in his early 20s tried to get through the venue's main gate minutes before the president arrived. "When the stewards asked to search him, he refused and ran away to another entrance. The stewards became suspicious and raised the alarm. Officers were dispatched to all other gates and a group nabbed him as he tried to access the show from a different gate," the manager said.
He said the suspect's bag was searched on the spot and two grenades found, a claim police denied. The suspect was taken to Nakuru's Central police station. As Kibaki spoke in Nakuru, Defence minister Yusuf Haji announced in Nairobi that more than 700 security personnel have been deployed to the volatile North Eastern province which last week witnessed grenade attacks on two churches that claimed 17 lives. "We have sent 400 additional police officers to North Eastern province to secure the area. We shall also arm 300 reservists who will be on the front line with other security officers," said Haji, who is also the acting Internal Security minister.
In addition, the government sent 14 more police patrol vehicles to the region that has seen the highest number of attacks since the Kenya Defence Forces entered Somalia in pursuit of al Shabaab who are blamed for abducting and killing foreign aid workers, tourists and government officials. The deployment came as Vigilance House announced the transfer of all senior police officers in the province including the Provincial Police Officer Leo Nyongesa Ijora, his deputy Philip Ndolo and the Provincial CID boss.
North Eastern PC James ole Serian was moved to Western province and replaced by Coast PC Ernest Munyi. Ole Serian replaced Samuel Kilele who moved to the Coast. Haji assured Kenyans that security will be enhanced during church functions on Saturdays and Sundays. He said the government has issued a directive that all taxis and boda bodas be registered and the drivers identify their stations to enhance surveillance.
Haji said all persons checking into hotels and guest houses will be required to show their national identity cards or passports, state their place of residence and duration of stay in the hotel. Unregistered lodgers will be prosecuted, he said. On Wednesday, 83 suspects were arrested in a major security swoop in Garissa following last Sunday's church attacks.
And in Nakuru, Kibaki said peace and security remained key ingredients of the country's development agenda, saying the government will do everything possible to safeguard citizens and their property. The President said Kenya will not be intimidated by terror attacks on innocent civilians aimed at spreading fear and panic.
Stressing that the war the KDF embarked on targeted agents of terror, Kibaki appealed to Kenyans to work closely with the government and guard against being divided along religious lines. "We will complete the work we began in stabilising the neighbouring state of Somalia. We owe it to ourselves and the people of Somalia," he said.
Last week, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Haji led a high powered delegation to Garissa. The delegation included Internal Security PS Mutea Iringo, AP commandant Kinuthia Mbugua, Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and senior Kenya armed forces officers.