KENYA POLLS: Military sent to bolster security in volatile Coast

Tuesday March 5 2013


Contingents of Kenya Defence Forces were posted to the Coast on Monday to bolster security after nine policemen were hacked to death on Sunday night.

The simultaneous raids in parts of Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties also left 10 raiders and three residents dead.

Lorry-loads of soldiers from the Mariakani Barracks arrived at Changamwe Police Station and were dispatched to the field. Another contingent from the Nyali Barracks took charge of patrols in Mombasa Town and parts of North Coast.

The presence of soldiers reassured residents of their security, many of who later trooped to polling stations to vote after initial fears triggered by the attacks.

Both attacks have been linked to the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a group opposed to the elections and has also been advocating secession of the region.

Assorted paraphernalia bearing the group’s secession slogans were found at the scene of the attacks, police said.


In Mombasa County, four policemen were killed in a confrontation with more than 100 raiders who had attacked a polling station in Miritini.

The officers who were hacked to death were Changamwe police boss Otieno Owuor, OCS Salim Chebii and inspectors Charles Maithya and Edward Songwa.

Police have confirmed that the officers killed seven raiders in the fight and arrested a number of the gangsters, one of them picked from his hideout.

Another raider was killed in Kisauni, Kilifi County, when a group of youths attacked policemen on patrol the same night. Five policemen were killed — four at Chumani Secondary School and one in Chonyi — in the attack. Two raiders and one civilian were also killed.

In Tiribe, Kwale County two villagers were found dead near Bahakanda Primary School with deep cuts all over their bodies. Two others were seriously injured and are being treated in hospital.

Kwale Criminal Investigations chief Ethaiba Mwenda said the attacks took place at 11pm on Sunday.

“The victims were hacked to death using pangas. Two others were taken to Kwale District Hospital for treatment,” said Mr Mwenda.

Coast provincial police boss Aggrey Adoli confirmed that four of the victims at Chumani were his officers. According to Mr Adoli, they were part of the security team guarding ballot materials that were to be distributed to other polling centres in the morning.

“A group of more than 400 raiders stormed the school compound and attacked the officers who were guarding the election materials. Because of their huge number, the raiders outnumbered our officers,” Mr Adoli said.

However, the policemen shot dead two of the raiders who also set ablaze two vehicles.

Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa confirmed the deaths of the three officers at Miritini.

“I can confirm that three of our officers died in the incident. We have not established the number of casualties on the other side,” Mr Marwa said.

Mr Richard Kenny Chonga, a candidate for Kilifi South national assembly seat said the group of youths had first terrorised residents at a local trading centre.

“The young men were armed with machetes and when people raised the alarm, a policeman from the DO’s office shot in the air, but one of the armed youths shot him with an arrow.

The attacks caused a major delay to the start of voting in the affected counties as police moved to bolster security of voters and IEBC officials.

Reports by Anthony Kitimo, Philip Onyango, Daniel Nyassy, Bozo Jeje and Rebecca Okwany