205 suspected militia arrested
Published on February 26, 2008, 12:00 am
By Standard Reporter
Police have arrested 205 youths allegedly undergoing military training at the home of former MP, Mr Davies Nakitare.
Police said the suspects, aged between 18 and 34, were going through military drills when they were arrested.
An electric fence at the farm thwarted an attempt by some to escape. Police recovered wood guns.
Kitale Deputy OCPD, Mr Eliud Okello, said: “The drills and training were similar to those offered by our military colleagues. We suspect they were being trained for combat.”
Police camped at the home of the former Saboti MP in search of firearms suspected to have been used by the youths.
In 1997, the MP was arrested at his farm and charged in a Nairobi court with possessing illegal AK-47 rifles.
The Standard has learnt that a former February Eighteen Movement fighter was among suspects in police custody.
The man was the training commander of the movement and was being referred to as major-general.
Local DCIO, Mr Issa Mohamuud, and Endebess OCS, Mr Joseph Wambua, were among police officers who raided the Delta Crescent Sanctuary and Farm.
The 200-hectare farm is also a tourist attraction. It hosts giraffes, rhinos, antelopes, horses and zebras.
Nakitare was away when the officers raided the home, 25km north of Kitale town. Near the training camp were ten workers cooking porridge and maize for the youths.
The training allegedly started on February 18. Police said they had been monitoring the goings-on at the farm. The trainees , however, told the police they were to work as wildlife rangers at the farm.
Four armed police reservists, who the Deputy OCPD disarmed, were keeping watch.
The youths said they were from Gituamba, Kalaha, Salama and Teldet, areas hit by post-election violence.
People displaced from the areas are camping in Kitale and Endebes. One suspect confessed that they were being trained to defend their communities.
“The training started after we took an oath. We were served with a liquid, a bitter substance, and warned against revealing what was going on,” said the man.
The suspects showed three tents they said their seniors used.
Mr Joseph Waluke, a reservist, said the MP asked them not to interfere with the training. “He told us to keep off the training because he would later hire the youth as rangers and deploy them to his farms,” said Waluke.
Two gun experts from Nairobi recovered one live round of ammunition.
Okello said police would stay at the farm to search for firearms.