Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: Turkana MPs Sought for Defending Police Attack

Two ministers and an MP from Turkana who addressed a news conference on Thursday defending an attack against police officers are now wanted for questioning.

"We want them to come and record statements on what they know about the attack on police officers," CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro said in reference to Labour Minister John Munyes, Wildlife Assistant Minister Josephat Nanok and Turkana Central MP Ekwe Ethuro.

The legislators also vigorously opposed the deployment of the military to track down the bandits.

"Those policemen went there (in pursuit of the cattle rustlers on Saturday) with Samburu warriors. A security operation should be done by security operators. You cannot take warriors together with policemen and call it a security operation," Munyes said.

"And that is why they (bandits) decided they must face them in the valley. That is what happened and in the valley, it is harsh and it is hot... if you have never fought there you cannot fight there, that is why the police were defeated," Munyes said.

"They should not have gone with them (Samburus) at all. The police should have gone alone," he argued.

The lawmakers demanded that if the government was disarming the Turkana it should also disarm the Samburu and Pokot who are their neighbours.

"If you disarm the Turkana and you don't disarm the other communities around like the Pokot and Samburu then it means you want to exterminate the Turkana's. It should not happen at all," the MPs said, adding "We will challenge the deployment of the military in a court of law.

Ethuro said: "We fear the military will go to shell villages at night. That operation should be left with the police."

Already, villagers are fleeing homes in Turkana as military and police contingents started arriving for the security operation.

In their press conference, the legislators even attempted to link the military deployment to Turkana with next year's general election.

"This is an election year and it is sad that the operation has been ordered ahead of the voter registration exercise (which starts on Monday)," said Nanok who is the Turkana South MP.

"The deployment of the military by the National Security Council amounts to an overthrow of the Constitution which clearly says that security agencies will not be used for political reasons and we will take legal action," said Ethuro.

Munyes instead recommended a joint disarmament programme with the neighbouring Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

He claimed the disarmament is selective and targets one community yet the problem affects all the pastoralist communities in the three neighbouring countries including the Toposa, Dinka, Merille, Turkana, Pokot and Samburu.

"Right now, KDF forces have been deployed all over Turkana and Samburu County and the local communities are worried that innocent children, women and youth are going to be tortured. This deployment is ill advised because it is testimony that our internal security apparatus has failed."

"We (the Turkana) have no godfather in government, but they must realise that we will not sit and wait to be exterminated," said the Labour Minister.

The Turkana legislators said the security operation on Saturday was poorly planned and executed, leading to massive deaths of police officers and some civilians.

Munyes said the herdsmen acted in self defence after Samburu raiders with the help of security forces planned to surround their village.

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