12 November 2012

Kenya: Intelligence Agencies Under Fire Over Police Deaths

Baragoi residents have begun to flee the area after the arrival of the troops in the region. The government deployed security forces to track down ... ( Resource: Residents in Northwest Kenya Flee Army )

Amnesty International has lashed out at the country's intelligence agencies saying their laxity is to blame for the influx of illegal arms into the country which are to blame for recent attacks by bandits on policemen in Samburu that left a staggering 42 officers dead.

Speaking to Capital FM News on Monday Amnesty International Country Director Justus Nyang'aya said that there were about one million illegal weapons doing rounds in the country stressing the need to conduct a thorough disarmament exercise.

Speaking to Capital FM News on Monday Amnesty International Country Director Justus Nyang'aya said that there were about one million illegal weapons doing rounds in the country stressing the need to conduct a thorough disarmament exercise/FILE[/caption]

Nyang'aya added that the forthcoming elections called for a greater boost to the security systems in Kenya together with proper equipping of security officers.

"That the police officers can be butchered in such a callous manner is not something that is easily seen; this is sending a very wrong signal as we move to the elections," he argued.

"We are very concerned because of the number of illegal weapons that have landed in the wrong hands. They are used badly and they constitute about 42 percent of the world's deaths," he explained.

He also challenged the government to seal any loopholes that might exist within its structures to put a stop to the influx of illegal weapons.

Nyang'aya noted that time had come for the government to tighten its borders and carefully scrutinise incoming goods.

"We don't manufacture any guns; we don't even manufacture needles so where do these guns come from? People have organised themselves and they go to dealers who don't ask any questions," he said.

"But how they are transferred from that point into the country is where the problem lies," he said.

According to Amnesty International 870 million arms are in the wrong hands globally; 400 million of these have made their way into Africa.

As the number of officers killed rose, two Members of Parliament condemned the attack.

Naivasha MP John Mututho said the government must find out how the armed bandits got access to some of the sophisticated guns that they used to attack the police men.

He accused the government of having little regard for police officers' lives saying that most of them were poorly equipped for the ambush.

"I understand that they (bandits) were using very advanced guns. So how come we allow people within our border to use such equipment yet we have the intelligence of picking them out?" he asked.

Parliamentary Security Committee Chairman Fred Kapondi urged the government to up its operation in Samburu and ensure that the bandits felt the heat of the law to prevent a repeat attack.

He argued that the police department was grossly underfinanced and it was therefore impossible for officers to carry out efficient security operations.

"You get an Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD) getting 27 litres of fuel per day to share with the entire police division including several Officers Commanding Police Station (OCSs), who in turn command about 120 policemen," he noted.

"And we have OCSs without vehicles so are we serious with the security conditions in this country?" he asked.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta also joined Kenyans in condemning the killings saying the government must conduct a proper disarmament exercise.

"We must provide better equipment and training for our forces to be able to not only protect our communities but also themselves in the event of an attack such as this. I pray that God gives your families comfort and peace during this time of grief," he said.

The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kenyan chapter also added its voice to the growing concern over the volatile situation.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) further announced that it would launch investigations into the unfolding deaths in Baragoi.

"The authority will, amongst other things, interview injured police officers to establish what transpired in Baragoi and provide recommendations. The public will be informed of the outcome of the investigations," IPOA said in a brief statement.

The authority is also expected to make recommendations to the State and other organs on ways to promote policing in the country.

Copyright © 2012 Capital FM. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.