GSU Recce heroes are not a very happy lot - Daily Nation

GSU Recce heroes are not a very happy lot

Sunday April 5 2015

The Recce Squad waited for seven hours in Nairobi even after they received an alarm as early as 6am  as the orders to fly to Garissa were slow in coming. PHOTO | FILE |

The officers from the General Service Unit’s Recce Squad who eliminated the terrorists who killed 148 people at the Garissa University College on Thursday have not been paid their allowances. FILE PHOTO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By STELLA CHERONO
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The officers from the General Service Unit’s Recce Squad who eliminated the terrorists who killed 148 people at the Garissa University College on Thursday have not been paid their allowances.

They were given only Sh500 each as lunch allowance.

Of the dead in Garissa, 142 were students.

Officers who spoke to the Nation said their job lacked incentives in spite of the dangers it entails.

They expected to be paid Sh3,000, but they have not received the amount since it is only paid when they spend a night out on duty.

Yesterday, the Interior Ministry said the unit’s capacity would be strengthened to fight terrorism in the future, but the officers felt they were not receiving the treatment they deserved.

A source from the Ruiru-based squad said the paramilitary unit, which is trained in close-quarters fighting, had been allocated two helicopters.

The unit, trained in the United States and Israel, is usually on standby for emergencies but orders for its deployment come from the Inspector-General of Police.

An officer attached to the squad Sunday said some of the members were deployed to situations that did not require their special skills.

“Some officers are deployed to areas such as Liboi, Malkamari, Turkwel and other disciplinary camps where their capacity wastes away,” said the officer, adding that some officers were even assigned to guard VIPs.

SCRAPPED ALLOWANCE

He said a former Commissioner of Police scrapped a Sh4,000 allowance that was paid to the officers whenever they went on an operation.

“Recce Coy (company), whose duties are different from the rest, is now being deployed outside Nairobi to pursue cattle rustlers, quell riots and tribal clashes,” he said.

“No officers are on standby at the Ruiru Camp, since most of them are in various regions discharging duties that are not meant for them,” an officer said and urged Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet to recall all Recce personnel from the field to be on standby at Ruiru.

Besides the allowances complaint, the officers said, they were ill-equipped and lacked morale.

Interior ministry spokesperson Mwenda Njoka said the ministry was planning to increase the capacity of the elite squad, which had received praise from many quarters after its officers killed the Garissa terrorists in less than an hour.

Police Inspector-General Joseph Boinnet said he had already given instructions that no officer from the Recce Squad trained for such missions should be deployed as a bodyguard for VIPs. He said in future they would be on standby in case of emergencies.

The police chief said the matter of allowances was being addressed at a high level.

At the same time, Mr Boinnet took issue with a Sunday Nation report that indicated that it took 15 hours for the unit to respond to the emergency in Garissa.

He said the team flew out of Nairobi soon after midday and landed in Garissa before 2pm as reported, and then had to undergo an extensive briefing before launching the operation.