OPERATION REJESHA AMANI

Eight arrested, five rifles and 579 bullets recovered in Marsabit

More than 100 guns and dozens of bullets have so far been recovered in the week-old exercise

In Summary
  • Agents in the operation have mapped various areas where the weapons are believed to be hidden and are raiding them one by one.
  • It is believed the guns were behind some of the attacks that were witnessed in the past months, leaving a trail of deaths and displacement.
Interior CS Fred Matiang'i with other security leaders during a press conference at GSU headquarters in Nairobi on Monday, May 2.
OPERATION REJESHA AMANI: Interior CS Fred Matiang'i with other security leaders during a press conference at GSU headquarters in Nairobi on Monday, May 2.
Image: CYRUS OMBATI

Eight people were arrested after police recovered five rifles with close to 600 bullets in the ongoing Operation Rejesha Amani Marsabit.

The arsenal was recovered on Tuesday evening when security teams raided a village in Manyatta Adhi Huka, 10km from Marsabit town.

The multi-agency team recovered a G3 rifle, three AK47 rifles and a general purpose machine gun.

Also recovered were six AK47 empty magazines, three G3 empty magazines, 579 assorted live bullets, 66 empty cartridges, two jungle belts and oil used in cleaning of guns.

The eight arrested are aged between 70 and 20. Security officials said they hope to make more recoveries.

Police said the suspects will be charged with illegal possession of weapons as they conduct further ballistic tests to establish if the weapons had been used in other crimes.

The recovery comes as other sources revealed more than 100 guns and dozens of bullets have so far been recovered in the week-old exercise.

The sources say agents in the operation have mapped various areas where the weapons are believed to be hidden and are raiding them one by one.

It is believed the guns were behind some of the attacks that were witnessed in the past months, leaving a trail of deaths and displacement.

Police said the exercise has seen calm return to the region with almost nil incidents being reported in the past weeks.

The operation is being conducted by security teams drawn from the General Service Unit, the Rapid Deployment Unit, the Quick Response Unit and the Anti Stock Theft Unit.

The exercise will also be extended to Sololo where suspected Oromo Liberation Front militias are active.

Security agencies have also mounted more roadblocks on the Isiolo-Moyale highway as part of the ongoing operation.

On May 3, a multi-agency security team manning a roadblock at Merti junction recovered an Ekol P29 pistol during a routine check on passengers plying the route.

The suspect was hiding the pistol in a bunch of miraa wrapped inside a banana leaf.

The month-long operation started on May 2 and will be extended to Kom and Merti in Isiolo county.

Regional police boss Rono Bunei said the exercise is going on well and they have identified and arrested some of those behind the violence.

Bunei said they had recorded almost nil incidents since the operation was launched. “We are determined to continue for the sake of peace.”

The operation was launched after six people were killed in a Marsabit attack on April 28.

The six include Loglogo senior chief Kennedy Kongoman, an assistant chief and four others. The victims were in pursuit of stolen animals.

At least three people are facing murder charges over the attack.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said the operation will run in tandem with a disarmament exercise targeting illegal guns and ammunition.

Matiang'i said the National Security Council decided to launch “Operation Rejesha Amani Marsabit” following incessant inter-ethnic attacks.

He said the assailants have defied peace initiatives including the lapse of the 30-day window sought by county leaders to secure reconciliation.

The animosity between the Borana and Gabra communities has progressively boiled over and Matiang’i has expressed concerns over political leaders who have frustrated previous attempts to pacify the area.

The CS said rival groups have been armed and transformed into competitive political militias, meting out violence on innocent civilians.

He said the resultant is a costly security challenge in the country.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)

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