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Senators summon Kakamega security chiefs over killings

Saturday July 20 2019

Matungu killings

Western region Police Commander Rashid Yakup addressing officers at Harambee Police Station in Matungu on May 8, 2019. Senate has summoned security bosses in Kakamega over insecurity in Matungu. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

 SHABAN  MAKOKHA
By SHABAN MAKOKHA
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Security chiefs from Kakamega County have been summoned to appear before the Senate to shed light on the killings that occurred in Matungu and Kilingili market a few months ago.

Members of the Senate Committee of National Security, Defence and Foreign Relations and Standing committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and National Integration have summoned western regional police commander, regional coordinator, county police boss, county intelligence chief and other senior security officials.

SECURITY REPORT

The officers have been asked to give a full report on the security situation in the region.

Senate Committee of National Security, Defence and Foreign Relations vice chairman Johnson Sakaja said top security officials skipped committee sittings held in Kakamega town, Matungu and Kilingili which were intended to have the MPs understand how the killings rocked Kilingili market and Matungu.

“We recorded our dissatisfaction because we missed top security officials in Kakamega when we toured the county to find out how the killings occurred at Matungu and Kilingili market after the report was tabled in the senate assembly by Kakamega senator Cleophas Malala,” said Mr Sakaja.

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At Matungu, the senators were told that 18 people lost their lives between March and June this year under different circumstances.

Mumias DCI Robert Mureithi said the killings were not interrelated.

“Six people died out of mob injustices, in two incidences, boys fought over girls in disco matanga resulting to the deaths, one incident was about family wrangles while seven others were under unclear circumstances,” said Mr Mureithi.

GANG LEADERS

Mr Mureithi said two suspected gang leaders had crossed over to the neighbouring Uganda and that they had engaged services of Interpol to pursue them.

Six senators Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Judith Pareno (nominated), Cleophas Malala (Kakamega), Fred Outa (Kisumu), Chris Lang’at (Bomet), Enock Wambua (Kitui) toured Kakamega where they held a meeting with the deputy governor Philip Kutima at the county headquarters before moving to Matungu and Kilingili where the killings took place.

In Matungu, the committees were informed that a lot of mitigation had been put in place to improve on the security situation in the area.

“Initially, we had the manpower of only 16 police officers in the constituency. But the number has been tremendously beefed up to address challenges of insecurity in the area. In addition, the constituency which was depending on a police post at Harambee market for its security operations has received a full-fledged police station with all gazetted police chiefs,” said the Kakamega county deputy police commander Mohammed Bakoli.

Mr Bakuli further pointed out that the security situation had been enhanced through the presence of a platoon of GSU officers who were deployed in the area by the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i when he visited the area in May, this year.

Kakamega county intelligence boss Pius Mungusa told the senators that there exists no gang known as 42 Brothers, but the title was being used by young people who wanted to be felt.

“This was a lethal terror gang in Kisumu and the youth want to be associated with it to instill fear in residents. We banned disco matangas and disbanded youth who were connecting to form criminal groupings,” said Mr Mungusa.

DISTRESS CALLS

Matungu sub-county police boss John Matsili said the sub-county had only three vehicles which are not reliable and this affects patrols and effective response to distress calls by residents.

“It is a very unfortunate situation. The ratio given to fuel is also not enough and this hampers our efforts to beef up security in all the five wards,” said Mr Matsili.

The senators called for review of allocation of police officers plus their welfare amid ongoing police reforms.

“There are a lot challenges across the country ranging from lack of police vehicles to insufficient money given to police officers as housing allowances. In rural areas, police live very far from their police stations while in urban areas, they are forced to live in slums where they can afford house rent,” added Mr Sakaja.

He however noted that the information they had received in their tour was insufficient and insisted that the regional officers must appear before the senate.

“The information we received was a casual report from junior officers and that is why we have invited the senior security officials in western region to come and shed more light before the committees in Nairobi,” added Mr Sakaja.

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