5 February 2013

Kenya: Military Unit Set Up to Quell Election Unrest

THE Kenya Defence Force has established a unit of soldiers who are on stand-by to move in and assist civilian security agents in case of unrest resulting from the upcoming elections.

Multiple sources within the military have confided to the Star that the government is putting all measures necessary to handle any violent eventualities that may follow the elections.

Insiders within the security forces say that there is growing concern over the silent re-emergence of militia groups and especially the Mungiki in Central and Nairobi.

There are also concerns that the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab could be planning attacks during the election period and the said KDF unit has been mandated to monitor activities of the group.

One military commander told the Star that the special unit will only get out of the barracks when requested by the civilian authorities to help restore sanity especially if unrest leads to blockage of essential services such as transport.

Security forces have already mapped out areas that are likely to experience violence which has dogged election period in Kenya since the 1990s.

Special emphasis has been given to areas that experienced unrest during the political party primaries with national security sources assuring that they are focusing on ensuring that there is no violence.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said that his commitment was to ensure that the police use this election period to stem out the culture of poll violence in the country.

"We have prepared and we will continue to prepare for the management of the elections which will start with campaigns, polling, counting of results and announcement of the winners, post-election and swearing in of the president," Kimaiyo said.

Police were accused of having been responsible for the death of close to half of those killed in the 2008 post-election violence, a situation security chiefs in the country are working hard to avoid.

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