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Editorial: Nip in the bud any bid to revive killer Sabaot Land Defence Forces

By Editorial | May 31st 2014

It is disheartening to hear the dreaded, but annihilated Sabaot Land Defence Forces (SLDF) could be regrouping in Mt Elgon County. In its heyday, the militia terrorised residents in the agriculturally rich region with brutal killings and savage attacks. Its activities prompted the ‘Operation Okoa Maisha’ in 2008 launched by the military. The purge was as harsh as the SLDF hurt the residents, reports later claimed.

Today, residents, provincial administrators and security officers fear that the killer outfit is gradually regrouping due to several factors. The most prominent is the unresolved land disputes. Majority of residents have been left without farming land. There are also claims that SLDF remnants have taken over Chepkube forest and are exploiting the shamba system, to produce food to sustain themselves. Another fact is the growing number of vengeful people after the violent attacks and the military action. There are people who feel strongly aggrieved and would want to revenge either death of relatives, loss of land or permanent injuries. Proper reconciliation was never done after hostilities cooled down. On the other hand, SDLF remnants feel ostracised since they were not properly integrated back into the society. There are also claims some politicians are arming the gang in preparation for the 2017 elections.

The national and county governments must move with speed and nip in the bud any re-emergence of the outfit. Local leaders and residents must also help address the issues fueling emergence of the militia. It would be foolhardy to turn a blind eye to such regrouping only to react later when violence erupts.


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