Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki issued a statement clarifying his vacation order issued to Kenyans in counties which have been declared dangerous and disturbed.
CS Kindiki forced to clarify vacate order issued to disturbed counties
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki defends move to vacate Kenyans in bandit prone areas
This is after human rights organisations faulted the CS, who had earlier said individuals found in the areas which he had ordered Kenyans to vacate will be treated as criminal elements.
He explained security agencies will undertake a land and air operation to flush out bandits from remote areas that are not ordinarily inhabited by law-abiding citizens.
According to CS Kindiki, the specified forests, caves, hills, gorges and rugged terrain escarpments do not constitute a habitual residence or village where law-abiding members of the public reside.
“Owing to their remoteness and terrain, none of the specified forests, caves, hills, gorges and rugged terrain escarpments constitute habitual residence or village ordinarily inhabited by law-abiding members of the public,” he said.
However, he assured the public and all oversight agencies that the operation will be carried out in full compliance with the Constitution of Kenya, particularly Chapter Five on fundamental rights and freedoms.
The Cabinet Secretary pledged to respect and uphold all applicable laws of Kenya and International treaties and conventions to which Kenya is a party, as well as promote national security and public safety without criminalizing innocent people or negating the doctrine of presumption of innocence.
Furthermore, the government promised to ensure that no individual is displaced from their home or places of habitual residence without support to settle elsewhere and lead their daily lives normally.
He added that schools in the areas that were Gazetted as 'Disturbed' and 'Dangerous' on 13th February 2023 will also not be disrupted, and all children will continue with their education.
The Interior CS Kithure Kindiki emphasized that the operation will treat law-abiding members of the public with respect and dignity while fully upholding their rights under the Constitution and the law.
The authorities have promised to promote the public interest and the general welfare of society in carrying out the operation.
The Law Society of Kenya and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights had raised concern over the manner in which the security agencies would use to flash out the bandits.
The organisations also said that the forced vacate order would have far-reaching effects on the residents of the areas, many of who are also grappling with drought and famine.
They argued that the move is likely to result in a humanitarian crisis if not addressed.
CS Kindiki ordered civilans to vacate Korkoron Hills and Tandare Valley (Baringo), Mukogodo Forest and Sieku Valley (Laikipia), Malaso Escarpment and Suguta Valley (Samburu) as well as Nadome and Kamur Caves (Turkana).
Other areas include Ltungai Conservancy, Longewan, Nasuur, Lochokia and Lekadaar Escarpments; Lolmolok Caves, Pura Valley, Malaso Escarpment, Kapelbok, Nakwamoru, Lebokat, Ombolion, Nadome and Kamur caves in Turkana as well as Turkwel Escarpment at the interface of West Pokot and Turkana counties.
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