Four arrested over Marsabit killings
Four suspects believed to be behind last week’s killings in Marsabit have been arrested even as the government launched a disarmament operation following the lapse of the 24-hour ultimatum to residents to surrender firearms.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the operation would also involve taking action against leaders linked to the attacks that led to the loss of 13 lives, including that of three police officers.
“The attackers are well known by some leaders. No one can cause such trouble without the local leadership being aware of who the attackers are,” said Matiang’i.
The government has, however, assured the public that the operation would be humane and that only the raiders and their financiers will be targeted.
Last evening Eastern Regional Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru said the three firearms stolen from the slain police officers were found abandoned by the roadside.
Yesterday, one of the communities involved in the ongoing clashes exonerated itself from the blame and urged the government to take an approach that would help end the feud.
Gabra community, which has been involved in a land tussle with the Borana, said peace and security was paramount for all inhabitants of the county.
North Horr MP Chachu Nganya defended the community and accused Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali and other politicians for using county resources to harass the Gabra.
“The governor and his team should know that we, the Gabra community, are the true inhabitants of Saku constituency. We own huge parcels of land and their plan to displace us from borderlands of Forole, Elhandhi and other settlements within Saku will not work,” he said.
Nganya claimed Gabras living in Jaldesa and Sangate wards had been kicked out of their land. He said some 1,000 families had been displaced and their houses burnt down.
Following the attacks in Jaldesa and Kukuto areas, a buffer zone at the volatile border had been created and officers of the Rapid Deployment Police Unit deployed.
“We are going to reorganise our deployment in Marsabit. Our officers from the RDPU are moving to the area and we are going to create new border patrol units at the Ethiopian line in Forole to ensure our people are safe,” Matiang’i said.
Matiang’i has also directed local leaders to be involved in the operation to flush out criminals and recover firearms.
He added that the security team in the county would be overhauled.
“We had a serious security meeting where even the Treasury Cabinet Secretary was in attendance and we are all focusing on Marsabit,” he said.
Marsabit County Commissioner Evans Achoki yesterday confirmed the arrest of the attack suspects. He also announced that 158 head of cattle and 70 goats and sheep which were stolen during the raid had been recovered.
Some chiefs and assistants have also been interdicted for allegedly abdicating their duty.
A number of witnesses, including local journalists, have recorded statements.
The probe is headed by the Marsabit Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss Harun Chabari.
—Reporting by Zadock Angira, Alvin Mwangi, Evans Nyakundi and KNA