Statesmen's Forum: Raila Odinga, Prime Ministe...
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Nairobi Star (Nairobi) Isaac Ongiri

The military has been ordered to flush out the 2,500 Merille tribesmen from Ethiopia who have been attack communities living along the common border.

The government has also given notice to the Ethiopian government to relocate the Merilles voluntarily or they face forceful eviction from the Kenyan security agencies. The Merille are responsible for killing more than 40 people during an attack two weeks ago.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga told Parliament that a Cabinet sub-committee chaired by President Kibaki had met on Tuesday and authorized the forceful relocation of the Merilles if they did not leave willingly. “The Merilles have already been told to move through a notice. If they do not move they will be evicted,” Raila said.

Raila said an estimated 900 of the total population of the Merilles who have pushed out the Turkanas and other communities from the areas near the Lake Turkana are armed militiamen while the rest were farmers. The Merilles are now living 17 kilometers inside the Kenya border.

Raila attributed the invasion of the Merille and their continued stay in the area to a collapse of security at the Kenyan borders. “We spend millions on our military. We train, promote and retire our soldiers who never go to any war!,”Raila said during the PM’s weekly address. He said serious measures had been put in place including the upgrading of Todonyang Police post into a fully fledged police station.

Raila said the government had also taken other measures to protect the country’s borders. These included the deployment of the military and the police to Migingo and Ugingo Islands where Kenyans are at the mercy of Ugandan forces which have seized the islands and established control.

He said the military had despatched a plane to the islands for surveillance purposes and had established that no Ugandan flag was hoisted there as alleged by some of the residents and fishermen from the area.

MPs blamed the government for doing nothing to secure the country’s territories despite frequent aggression by neighbours with expansionist tendencies. “This is a shocking admission of government failure on a section of its citizenry. How much has the government set aside for the plans to improve security,” wondered Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara.

Mandera East MP Mohamed Hussein said the idle Kenyan military should be put to use to scare away external aggressors targeting the Kenyan borders. Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi wondered what the National Security Intelligence was doing to protect Kenyans from further attacks.

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