Militia leaders reject Government’s amnesty
Published on May 11, 2008, 12:00 am
By Stephen Makabila And Roselyne Obala
Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) militia commanders have disregarded a Government amnesty to surrender.
Western PC Mr Abdul Mwasserah had made the appeal.
“We have arrested five commanders of the SLDF since the military operation started in Mt Elgon but we are asking those out there to surrender if they want amnesty,” the PC had said.
However, none of the remaining commanders had honoured the call issued a week ago.
The SLDF commander is believed to be Wycliffe Kirui Komon alias Matakwei. Mwasserah said the government had information on where he is hiding and it was upon him to surrender or face the law.
So far, 57 AK-47 rifles, four hand grenades and about 1,000 rounds of ammunition have been recovered and 1,000 suspected members of SLDF arrested and charged with promoting war-like activities and murder.
Mwasserah said as part of the Government’s effort to deter future illegal grouping, it will set all units of the police force in the area.
“We are going to set patrol base for Regular police, Administration police, General Service Unit and Anti-Stock Theft Unit to boost security in the district,” he said.
The Western Provincial Police Officer (PPO), Mr Francis Munyambu, said the security operation was on course and dismissed claims of torture of innocent civilians.
Area MP, Mr Fred Kapondi, raised the matter in Parliament last week and demanded a ministerial statement.
He told Parliament the operation was turning into a nightmare for the community as security agents comb the area for the SLDF.
Internal Security Assistant minister, Mr Orwa Ojode, promised to respond to the matter next Wednesday.
At the same time, human rights groups in Western Kenya are planning to sue the State to seek compensation for the tortured victims.
The Western Kenya Human Rights Watch (WKHRW) Executive Director Mr Joab Bwonya and the Mwatikho Torture Survivors Director, Mr Taiga Wanyanja, said they had already talked to families of those who had been tortured and were ready to sue the State for compensation.
The two said appeals to the Government for investigations into torture claims have been unsuccessful. They said they had opted to seek justice for the poor residents.