The Star (Nairobi)

5 July 2014

Kenya: MRC Suspects Arrested in Kilifi Over Saba Saba

A security operation in Kaya Chonyi forest and Jibana forest in Kilifi county has netted five suspected members of the Mombasa Republican Council.

The operation followed intelligence reports that the group was recruiting and training members to cause mayhem on Saba Saba day and chase members of other communities living in Kilifi.

Addressing the media in his office yesterday, Kilifi county commissioner Albert Kobia said the ongoing operation revealed that the group has 18 platoons of between 30 to 40 members.

"In Kaya Chonyi we managed to get several arrows and bows. We also got machetes and homemade guns which are well calibrated. This means whoever was giving the training must have undergone military training before," he said.

Other objects found include, flags, registration receipts from the MRC group, bhang, five live goats and a book by reknown photojournalist Mo Ibrahim on conflict areas in the world.

Kobia further said that there is an established training ground in Kaya Chonyi while in Jibana forest, clearing of bushes to set the training area was ongoing.

"Several members managed to escape but we have leads which we believe will enable us get all the commanders. Already we have been able to track one commander who is in Mumias now maybe planning how to cause chaos there, but we will get him," he said.

Kobia said the operation will be carried both on air and on the ground to make sure the county stays safe on Monday and after. He appealed to members of the public to volunteer information that will enable the police arrest all the members.

The police have so far applied to the court to hold the five suspects in custody until investigations are over. "If the court grants us our request then we will hold the suspects until we are sure we have netted the rest. We will use them to get more information on their operatives," he said.

However, MRC deputy spokesman Richard Lewa, refuted claims that the trainings are related to them. He said it could be a plot by the government to tarnish their name.

"We cannot engage in any violent activities because all our cases are before court. As MRC we are not related to any of those activities and it could be another group trying to hide in our name or it could be the government itself," he said.

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