POLICE officers have orders to use their firearms to fight terrorist and criminals in accordance with the laws of Kenya, Deputy President William Ruto has said.
Ruto yesterday said officers have a right to use their firearms whenever they feel their lives and those of the citizens they protect are in danger.
Speaking in Likoni when he paid a visit to Joy in Christ Church, which was attacked last Sunday by unknown gunmen, Ruto said terrorists are dangerous people who cannot be tolerated.
"We have given all our security men and women permission to use their arms well whenever Kenyans lives are being threatened. Terrorists must face equal force to the one they are using to terrorise Kenyans," he said.
Ruto said two of the suspected gunmen who attacked the church have been killed by Mombasa police and one of them is being pursued and will soon be brought to justice. He said the government will pursue all terror suspects into their hiding places even if they take refuge in places of worship.
Ruto said the Sunday attack was a terror act and not a criminalone as police officers in the region have put it. "These are dangerous people and police must deal with terrorists who are out to injure and kill Kenyans," he said.
Ruto said every Kenyan is guaranteed the freedom of worship by the constitution and the government will not allow terrorists and criminals to stop people from enjoying it. He said churches and mosques must not be used as training grounds for radicalisation and extremism. Ruto said the national government and Mombasa county have pledged Sh3 million to help the victims' families with medical and funeral expenses.
The national government has given Sh2 million while the county gave Sh1 million. About 23 people were injured and six others lost their lives after the hooded gunmen attacked the church last Sunday morning.
Ruto urged local, religious and political leaders to work together to fight youth radicalisation in the region. Senate Majority Speaker Kithure Kindiki reiterated his earlier suggestion that the government need to form home guard security unit.
Kindiki said the security apparatus in the country lack a co-ordination and central command whenever the country is attacked. He said they will sponsor a motion in parliament to have a legislation that will come up with a police unit that will be comprised of police officers, military, paramilitary and immigration officers. "We need to have a well co-coordinated police unit that can respond to terror attacks in this country," he said.
National Assembly Majority Leader Adan Duale said Muslim and political leaders must lead from the front in the fight against radicaliSation. He said Muslim leaders must not seem to sympathize with the terrorists and criminals who cause chaos in the country.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho pledged to support the national government in fighting terrorist activities in the country. He said Mombasa residents must continue to co-exist in peace as they have always been doing since the pre-colonial period.