NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18 – Army personnel have been dispatched to the Kenya-Ethiopia border following recent raids by Merille tribesmen who killed more than 40 people.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga told Parliament on Wednesday afternoon that the army is under firm instructions to relocate more than 900 Merille tribesmen who have settled on the Kenyan territory.
“For a start, the Government has directed the Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security, in conjunction with the Ministry of State for Defense to ensure the 2,500 Merilles residing in the River Omo Delta are relocated to Ethiopia,” he said.
The PM further added; “The Government has beefed up security along the Kenya-Ethiopia border at Todonyang. We have relocated the GSU and AP camps at Todonyang to the actual border point 14 kilometres away to counter any planned attacks between the two communities.”
The move follows the killings of 40 people who were shot dead when the Merille militiamen raided a remote village near Lake Turkana and shot indiscriminately at fishermen and a group of men and women who had gone shopping at a border town in the neighbouring country.
But even as the Premier announced the measures taken by the government to deter external aggression at the border points, MPs reprimanded him, saying the government had neglected communities living at the border.
“When you get to our waters, one single pirate can chase away our navy, when you go to the North Eastern Province the Al Shabab are there, when you go to Migingo we are not sure who is in charge, despite the money we spend on the Department of Defence our borders are still not secure from any front what is the problem?” posed Rangwe MP Martin Oginde.
“Can the PM tell this House why the government is not prepared to face this problem head on?” Kandara MP James Maina wondered.
The PM found himself in more trouble when he revealed that the security agencies had failed to act on intelligence reports warning of retaliatory attacks by Merille tribesmen in Turkana.
“It would have been suicidal for Kenyan forces to retaliate against the heavily armed militia given that they were outnumbered. He said the area is served by a police post manned by eight regular police officers with the support of a company of 60 GSU personnel,” he said.
Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi termed the admission as sad. “I am confused by this matter, why was there no directional command given to the army to protect our boders yet they had this information?”
“These revelations are very serious, that the Merilles are in Kenya illegally and they can afford to attack the Kenyans and move back to their place of stay which is within Kenya and the PM can afford to tell this House that the Government was helpless,” added Mosop MP David Koech