6 December 2012

Kenya: Coast Police Bosses Grilled Over Tana Clashes

Some police chiefs in Mombasa have appeared before a commission probing the Tana Delta clashes that claimed over 100 lives in September this year.

The commission was established to investigate the role of the security apparatus in the area, in the clashes between the Orma and the Pokomo communities.

Area DC David Kiprop when questioned, blamed the eruption of the clashes on the MRC and security logistical challenges. Kiprop said that the MRC vice chair for the Ozi area Mohamed Buti made a call that sparked off the clashes.

Kiprop explained that the explanation Buti offered of notifying the police about people destroying his crops did not add up.

The DC said that after Buti's call, clashes erupted. He added that Buti is a former police reservist believed to own a gun and the know-how to use it.

Also, he attributed the clashes to the rough terrain and hitches in security logistics. He said these challenges prevented the authorities from acting in good time to stop the violence.

Coast PPO Aggrey Adoli blamed the ill-equipped and understaffed police stations for the violence. He said that the Mombasa precinct did not have the equipment or the personnel to cover the 38,000 square kilometers.

Adoli also said that the one CID officer attached to the Coast area at the time was not enough to start investigations following tip-offs of the clashes being reported.

State council Wamuti Ndegwa said that the cause of the clashes can be traced to crop theft and arson leading to the confrontations that also saw many of the residents flee their homes for fear of reprisal attacks. Calm returned to the area after deployment of security forces and a curfew being enforced.

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