16 November 2012

Kenya: MPs Under Fire for Politicising Samburu Attack

Nairobi — The Young Kenyan Patriots lobby group has cautioned against politicising the killing of 46 police officers in Samburu and is instead urging leaders to let the government conduct an impartial investigation.

The group's chairman John Korir said statements attributed to MPs from Turkana on Thursday were unfortunate.

Cabinet Minister John Munyes, Assistant Minister Josephat Nanok and MP Ekwe Ethuro had criticised the deployment of the military to disarm Turkana raiders, saying all communities in the area must be disarmed.

"The statements made by the MPs amount to politicising the matter. They should let the police do their work and stop making statements that can jeopardise investigations," Korir said.

The leaders from Turkana defended locals and accused the government of deploying the military to "harass villagers."

But the lobby argues: "Such remarks amount to politics, they should let the security forces do their job, security matters should not be politicized at all."

The MPs told journalists they felt their region was unfairly targeted by the government through deployment of the army for disarmament, yet neighbouring communities of the Pokot and Samburu roam freely with weapons.

"We are sending a stern warning to any leadership that may be keen on politicising the matter for political and sectarian mileage at the cost of peace and harmony between the communities involved," the MPs said.

CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro has said his officers are investigating the three legislators and other leaders from the region over "what they know about the deadly attacks" that left at least 46 police officers killed.

"We want them to come and record statements on what they know about the attacks on police officers," Muhoro said.

Some of the leaders have vowed not to cooperate with police while others said they would volunteer and write statements.

In their press conference on Thursday, the leaders appeared to justify the attacks on the slain police officers.

"Those policemen went there 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 (attackers) decided they must face them out 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 accusing the police of having gone to raid Turkana villages while accompanied by the Samburu warriors whose cattle had been stolen.

They said the police "should not have gone with them (Samburu warriors) at all, the police should have gone alone."

At least 46 police officers were shot dead by the Turkana warriors suspected to have stolen cattle from their neighbouring Samburu on Saturday.

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