15 February 2013

Kenya: Security Stepped Up Ahead of Polls

Police will use three choppers to tighten security at the Coast amid reports that there are plans by illegal groups to disrupt the elections. Coast police boss Aggrey Adoli said they have deployed officers to man areas perceived as possible violence hotspots.

"The headquarters has dispatched choppers, two from the Regular police and another from the AP unit. The AP chopper is currently stationed at the Tana Delta following the spate of killings between the two Orma and Pokomo communities," he said.

The Star has established that the three choppers will be used in areas perceived to be strongholds of militia groups in Kwale, Mombasa and Tana Delta. At least four officers will be stationed at all polling stations in Changamwe, Kaloleni, Kwale and Kisauni.

Assistant police commissioner Angelus Karuru will oversee the police operation together with other senior police officers from the GSU, AP and Prison department.

He announced drastic security measures, including the establishment of standby platoons of GSU and a special unit of APs called the Rapid Deployment Unit, which arrived in Mombasa yesterday. Permanent police camps have been replaced by mobile platoons which respond on a need be basis.

"We have changed our operation strategies to thwart any possible attacks targeting our officers by any illegal group including the machete-wielding Mombasa Republican Council, Nyuki and newly-formed Mombasa Police Department," Adoli said.

Last September, nine GSU, AP and Regular police officers were murdered and their rifles stolen at Kilelengwani in Tana Delta when they were ambushed by armed militia.

Intelligence reports indicates that groups affiliated to the MRC could be regrouping to disrupt elections despite peace calls by its leadership. Police chiefs have directed that voters leave polling stations after voting as required by the law.

"We are under strict instruction to deal with any incidents of hooliganism at the polling centres. It is upon the voters to co-operate and avoid provocation or face the full force," said Kisauni police boss Julius Wanjohi.

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