Ethiopia soldiers invade Kenyan village, rough up locals

Residents of Marasabit county walks in the dusty roads in Marsabit town,Marsabit County [PHOTO:BONIFACE THUKU/STANDARD]

More than 30 heavily armed Ethiopian soldiers invaded Lataka village in Sololo on Tuesday morning and allegedly roughed up locals.

The soldiers also allegedly disarmed a Kenya Police Reservist (KPR) officer and arrested some residents of the village.

Locals claimed the foreign soldiers demanded they produce and disclose whereabouts of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) rebels, which is an outlawed militia in Ethiopia.

The incident happened two days after Ethiopia held its national elections and at a time when the Sololo border remained closed due to the polls.

Speaking to The Standard, they said soldiers were armed with hundreds of bullets, AK47 rifles, hand grenade and other sophisticated weapons.


"They roughed up several people in the village and my elder brother suffered head and leg injuries during the 6am incident," a resident, Halkano Huka, said.

Locals said the troops crossed into Kenya on Monday evening, through the Godi-loni border point, and invaded Lataka village on Tuesday morning which is some 20 kilometres from the border.

During the invasion they arrested two people from the village and released them after three hours.

The residents said soldiers went towards Qicha village some 10 kilometres towards the border and by the time we went to press, the fate of the village remained unknown.

The villagers said Kenyan police arrived at the village at 9am and went to Sololo Police Station where they interrogated the two abducted villagers, Gimbe Jarso and Rob Jarso.

Sololo Deputy County Commissioner Raphael Muiruri confirmed the incident and said a KPR officer was disarmed.

"Police are on the ground but we have scant information at the moment," he said adding they will release official information later in the day.

The disarming of the KPR official brings to two the number of Kenya Government guns currently in the hand of Ethiopia authorities.

Mr Muiruri said the gun that was taken away by force on March 11 at Elle-bor is yet to be recovered adding that tension remains high at the border.

There is no Kenya Defence Force camp near the Sololo border region with the nearest camp based at Odda, in Moyale, some 100 kilometres away.