Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: Inspector General Speaks Tough in Tana River Tour

Nairobi — Newly appointed Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo on Wednesday warned members of the Pokomo and Orma communities of dire consequences on those found plotting killings and other forms of violence.

Kimaiyo told the warring neighbouring communities that each and every person will be held personally responsible for his or her actions, should they continue fighting.

"It will not be collective responsibility when such things happen, each and everyone of you will be responsible for their actions," Kimaiyo said during a peace meeting in Kipao village which is still reeling from the aftermath of last week's skirmishes which left 45 people dead.

The new police chief said more security forces, including spies will be deployed to co-exist with both communities to be able to identify trouble-makers.

"We will have more officer sent here, and you should work with them at all times, they are here to serve you," Kimaiyo said.

He assured residents that those who committed killings last week "will have to face the law, you can not commit such acts and expect to walk free."

He urged locals to volunteer information that can help apprehend those responsible.

Internal Security Minister Katoo Ole Metito also assured that police will be given adequate support and resources to restore order in the region, even as most homes remained deserted.

Ole Metito and Kimaiyo were accompanied in the security tour by Administration Police commandant Samuel Arachi and CID director Ndegwa Muhoro.

Villagers have been fleeing their homes for fear of reprisal attacks after last week's killing of 45 people in clashes pitting the two warring neighbours at Kipao area.

50 people were arraigned in court earlier in the week over the violence but they denied responsibility even of the 45 people killed.

Men, women and children were hacked or shot dead and their homes torched in Friday's attack on Kipao village in the Tana River delta region, an area where deadly tribal violence killed another 100 people earlier this year.

Police attributed the killings to a disarmament operation in the area but the violence could also be linked to the election being held next March, the first since Kenya was gripped by deadly inter-ethnic killings after a December 2007 vote.

Police said the dead in Kipao included 16 children, five women and 10 men, along with 14 assailants.

US President Barrack Obama on Saturday it condemned "in the strongest terms" the renewed violence between the communities in the Tana area, where conflicts have flared intermittently over access to land and water points.

"This latest incident represents a disturbing escalation of the tragic violence witnessed by these communities in August and September," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

"With historic elections approaching in March, peace and stability are essential to Kenya's continued progress," Carney said.

The White House also called on the Kenyan government, police and Orma and Pokomo leaders to "bring an end to this deadly cycle of conflict, intensify efforts to establish a durable peace in the Tana delta and hold to account the perpetrators of these heinous acts".

Kenya votes on March 4 in its first election since the disputed 2007 vote, which led to the worst inter-ethnic violence since independence with more than 1,100 people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Two of the candidates running for the presidency are Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who lost his bid in the 2007 vote, and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his alleged role in the violence which shattered Kenya's image as a beacon of regional stability.

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