17 November 2012

Kenya: Ethuro, Nanok Held for 'Defending' Samburu Killings

Nairobi — Turkana Central MP Ekwe Ethuro and Josephat Nanok were being held for questioning on Saturday, after they appeared to defend an attack in Samburu that has left 48 policemen dead.

Ethuro handed himself to the Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters on Saturday afternoon after learning he was being sought.

Nanok, who is an assistant minister for Wildlife was arrested on Friday night after appearing on a live TV show at the Nation Centre.

The two legislators were being sought by the police alongside Labour Minister John Munyes over statements they made on Thursday defending the massacre of 48 police officers in Baragoi, last weekend.

The three had claimed that the bandits who assassinated the officer were acting in self defence because the police were working alongside Samburu raiders.

"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," alleged Munyes.

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

While Munyes is yet to honour the police summons, Ethuro drove himself to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters in Kiambu County on Saturday afternoon where he was grilled about the incident.

Before his arrest on Friday, Nanok has said: "I was in town yesterday and they (CID) knew where I was. I spent the night in my house; I was in the government office in the ministry today and I will spend the night in my house. Let them come for me."

He also said that his comments were made within the precincts of Parliament, where he enjoys immunity from any action by law enforcers.

The three legislators had also vehemently opposed the deployment of the military to the region saying the forces were being used to destroy villages in their turf.

President Mwai Kibaki sent the military to the region to aid the officers and help restore sanity.

Police officers had also sent a strong warning to cattle rustlers and any politician who would defend their actions.

"It is not business as usual and they (rustlers) should be prepared to die. Police men handle people with a lot of respect and then we are called weak, naïve and unprepared. That is not going to happen again," stressed Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino.

He also told journalists in Nairobi on November 14 that the cattle raiders would be crushed to end the vicious rustling cycle that has claimed countless lives.

He said police officers would not sit back and allow raiders to continue wrecking havoc in the country.

"We cannot protect animals and lose Kenyans' lives particularly police officers' lives. We are now going to lose the rustlers together with the cattle. Cattle are not too expensive for the government to compensate," he retorted.

"But these young men and children are too expensive to be compensated," he argued.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission has been claiming that the recent wave of violent cattle rustling incidences had been politically instigated.

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