Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: Calls for Iteere to Resign After Baragoi Massacre

The civil society led by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) is now calling for the immediate resignation of Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere, the Provincial Police chief and the commander in Baragoi where 42 officers were massacred at the weekend.

KHRC Programmes Officer George Morara said their resignation would allow independent investigations into the deaths which he maintained could have been prevented.

Morara said the police officers were ill equipped for the ambush and it was necessary for their bosses to be held accountable.

"Because we want this matter to be addressed with the seriousness that the Tana Delta killings was addressed, we are calling upon the Commissioner of Police, the Provincial Police Officer and the Officer Commanding the forces in Baragoi region to step aside," he demanded.

"That is the only way this matter can be investigated in detail and the truth is brought out," he argued.

Iteere however maintained that the police officers were caught unawares as it seemed that the bandits had already been informed of the police plan.

Morara further lashed out at the top brass in government for its continued silence over the matter saying it placed little regard for the lives lost.

He challenged President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to break their silence and address the officers concerned as a matter of good leadership.

"We have a Commander-in-Chief whose approach is hands off, ears off, legs off and everything off! And as we approach the general election we do not think that these incidences are really opportunistic and if they are then we are in for a very serious problem as a country," he observed.

He also noted that Kenya had lost over 50 police officers, who had been placed in marginalised areas including Samburu, Tana Delta and Garissa in addition to cities like Mombasa and Nairobi.

"All these officers were killed while undertaking the difficult task of providing national security, particularly in the areas of dealing with terror threats in the country, banditry attacks, robberies and the perennial cattle rustling menace," he said regrettably.

The KHRC added that it had opened counselling sessions at police headquarters and at Harambee House for those who were affected by the ambush together with their families.

The Kenya Red Cross is also on hand to provide counselling to those who were affected by the tragedy.

"It is indeed sad that the officers who were responding to the call of national duty can lose their lives in this manner," said Morara.

The Coalition on Violence Against Women, (COVAW) Kenya also criticised the government for its knee jerk reactions saying there was need for accountability.

The organisation wanted to know the current status of the disarmament programmes that had been carried out in pastoralists areas in the past to control infiltration of illegal arms.

The civil societies also demanded to know why there seemed to be a disconnect between the country's intelligence services, the police and institutions critical to the provision of security.

Meanwhile several other civil societies under the Elections Observation Group (ELOG) banner condemned the attack and called upon the president to take control of the situation.

"We want the president and the security apparatus to take immediate control of the situation by authorising the necessary deployments to ensure that the lives and property of Kenyans are protected," their statement said.

"We reiterate that as we head towards the elections, it is critical that all security instruments be sufficiently prepared and the necessary intelligence be supplied to ensure that the people of this country are safe and secure," they added.

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