19 January 2013

Kenya: Garissa Residents Demonstrate Over Rising Insecurity in the Town

Photo: Fidelis Mbah/IRIN
Al Shabaab milititants (file photo).

HUNDREDS of Garissa residents yesterday matched through the town's streets to protest rising insecurity over the last three months.

The demonstration comes barely two days after five people, including deputy prisons officer, were gunned down in Garissa.

Business and transport was paralysed for most of the day as the angry demonstrators solicited supported from other members of the public.

They carried placards that criticising the government's failure to protect lives.

The protesting residents marched to the office of county commissioner Mohamed Maalim who promised swift government action to improve security.

"For how long will we continue losing lives like rats. We did not come to Garissa to be killed. Furthermore, they (killers) are only targeting non-locals. We wonder why nobody is being arrested in connection the killings despite others being executed in broad day light," said businessman Simon Kamau who spoke on their behalf.

Efforts by the county commissioner to cool their tempers was met with booing and heckling as they called on the government to act immediately.

Maalim told the residents that the government had established the criminals behind the killings of five people on Wednesday night adding that their portraits would be published in the media for the people to identify and report them.

"Some of these killers are ex-service men who were dismissed from the service because of misconduct. They include ex-military, administration and prisons officers. This is evident as they are sharp shooters and do not miss their targets," added the commissioner.

He urged the residents and business community to unite and compliment the government security efforts through arresting the criminals at the scenes of crime.

Garissa has been the worst hit by raising level of insecurity since Kenya took its troops inside Somalia in pursuance of the al shabaab militants.

Some 15 security officers and about 100 civilians have lost their lives as the militants target security officers and non locals in social places including hotels, bars and churches.

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