Kenya imposes night curfew in northern region amid insecurity
Nairobi, May 3 (IANS) The Kenyan government has declared a month-long night curfew and security operations in Marsabit County in northern part of the country to enhance security disarmament exercise over rising insecurity.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i also said Komu Sub County in neighbouring Isiolo County and Sololo area near the Kenya-Ethiopia border will also be affected by the dusk to dawn curfew, reports Xinhua news agency.
"We have noticed the nexus between the proliferation of the guns in Marsabit and the chaos in Komu where there are illegal mining activities ongoing there," he told journalists in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
Matiang'i said the 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew that will initially last for 30 days with the option of an extension will run in tandem with a disarmament exercise targeting illegal guns and ammunition.
The official said the government had in the past week mobilised enough personnel for the operation and they are already on the ground.
Matiang'i said the operation may be extended until they get rid of the illegal weapons causing havoc there and blamed the insecurity in the area on some leaders who are arming their militias from their clans.
He said special forces are among those on the ground to conduct the operation to also affect Komu sub-county, Merti, in Isiolo and parts of Sololo near the border.
This is because of fears some terror groups are using the area as a route to transport their weapons for attacks in other places like the capital Nairobi.
"The security challenges in Marsabit have been by far recently the costliest in our country. You know the lives of the leaders and our ordinary citizens that we have lost as a result of these challenges," he said.
"We in the security sector are counting losses almost every other day because of these challenges. We will stay on this operation until sanity prevails and until we stop the senseless loss of lives in that county," Matiang'i added.
The government had given the locals three months to come up with a solution or an operation be launched in the biggest county.
But the attacks have persisted. Six people were killed and four injured in an ambush by gunmen in Laisamis on April 28.
"The situation is aggravated by politics of expansionism, drought, rough and vast terrain and proliferation of arms sneaked in through porous borders. Political instability and troubles in neighbouring countries also make it easy to access weapons," Matiang'i said.
Inter-communal clashes in northern Kenya between the Borana and Garba livestock herding communities which live on the border with Ethiopia have killed hundreds of and displaced thousands of people in recent months in reprisal attacks linked to rivalry over pasture and cattle rustling.