NRT UNMASKED: A CONSPIRACY IN THE WILD

 

For over 10 years, the Northern Rangelands Trust, a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been acquiring land in the arid north of the country. Today, it controls almost 10% of Kenya’s land mass. Environmental journalist John Mbaria investigates. (Courtesy of the New African Magazine)

In its dying days, the Obama Administration pumped massive amounts of money into supporting a powerful NGO accused of using below-the-radar tactics to control a huge amount of Kenyan land, thereby using conservation as a subtle tool for dispossessing tens of thousands of pastoralists, who have unwittingly participated in their own dispossession.

Much of the land, whose control is enforced by local well-armed militias, has recently been granted UN-protected status. And with financial backing from powerful Western donors, the Northern Rangelands Trust’s (NRT) activities are largely insulated from public scrutiny.

Unless the new Trump administration discontinues the US government’s support to wildlife conservation in Africa, the NRT is set to continue having a say over vast, mineral-rich lands in the north and coastal areas of Kenya.

Most of these lands have been identified, in official documents, as areas of immense potential capable of becoming the very basis of the country’s future economic progress. These areas are also crucial to the maintenance of the extensive livestock husbandry practised by millions of pastoralists in northern Kenya.

Today, the NRT effectively controls 44,000 km2 (or 10.8m acres) of land – that’s roughly eight per cent of Kenya’s 581,309 km2 landmass. Interestingly, the organisation appears to have acquired a decisive say over these lands by co-opting the local leadership. Consequently, NRT’s control of the lands in Kenya’s Upper Rift, North and Coastal areas is facilitated by local political and community leaders, some of whom are co-opted as members of the organisation’s Board.

This has been done through community wildlife conservation, a model in which landowners assert the right to manage and profit from wildlife on their lands.

Conservancies have proliferated across pastoralist, wildlife-rich areas in northern and southern Kenya. They are also an extremely attractive funding prospect for Western donors in the conservation sector.

All the cash is handed over, not directly to the landowners, who have constituted themselves into 33 community conservancies, but to the NRT, which acts like a middleman and which has taken up not just conservation, but other roles (including security arrangements) that are ordinarily performed by national governments.

Among the biggest financial supporters of NRT, the former Obama administration consistently extended tens of millions of dollars to the organisation through the United States Agency for International Development (USAid). As if to underscore how important the NRT’s work was to the Obama Administration, the organisation’s Chief Programs Officer, Tom Lalampaa, and its founder, Ian Craig, were among the people given the privilege of making short presentations about their work when the former US president visited Kenya last July.

America’s latest support to the organisation was announced in a press statement released by the US Embassy in Nairobi in late November 2016. In the communiqué, the US Ambassador to Kenya, Robert F. Godec, said
the US’s new 5-year, $20m support was meant “to help expand” the NRT’s operations in Coastal
Kenya.

He hailed NRT’s partnership with the communities, terming it “a shared vision of protecting ecosystems and promoting peace for a better future”. He added that the cash would be used to support the work of community rangers, to conserve wildlife and fisheries, improve livelihoods, and advance women’s enterprises.

For its part, NRT, through Craig (who signed off as the organisation’s Director of Conservation), said the cash would be used to fund the opening up of new conservancies and create a conservation trust fund.


The former Obama administration consistently extended tens of millions of dollars to the NRT through USAid.


Though the US government believes that the NRT shares “the visions of protecting ecosystems” with the communities in Upper Rift, the North and on the Coast, recent developments in Kenya have proved otherwise. Indeed, the US support comes at a time when some well-armed herders, from some of the same communities the NRT has helped to form community conservancies, have invaded sprawling private ranches in Laikipia and elsewhere, leading to human fatalities, the killing of wild animals and forcing the deployment of specialised security units from the Kenya police.

The work of NRT and the West’s support to conservation in some of Kenya’s arid-and-semi-arid lands has altered the human/ wildlife dynamics in some areas. This has also invited curious concern from conservation experts, who believe that the US and other countries in the West have been supporting a controversial organisation that has been usurping the role of Kenya’s human and wildlife security organs, as well as destroying the age-old ability of tens of thousands of herders to live off their land.

As New African found out in extensive visits and interviews with different people in the affected areas, the NRT-inspired community-conservation model is simple and can be quite attractive for anyone ignorant of its implications, especially for the lives and livelihoods of local people.

After co-opting the local leadership, the NRT appears to have crafted MOUs with the communities owning the vast tracts of land. In most cases, the communities’ land-ownership claims are based on the most rudimentary rights – an ancestral claim to the land.

Community members are also reputed to retain significant respect for, and allow themselves to be guided by, local leadership which, in most cases, uses its standing in communities to advance, and persuade “lesser” members of communities to conform with the wishes of the NRT.

This is not so difficult as the organisation has come up with quite an attractive package for the  communities, including securing for them investors interested in developing lodges and other tourism facilities, once they agree to set aside some of their lands for exclusive use by wildlife and the investors.

NRT also promises bursaries for school children, employment for community members, a ready market for the livestock and the setting up of a grazing plan to prevent livestock deaths through drought in the drylands of Kenya.

“NRT’s approach is quite attractive to communities who have been neglected by successive governments in Kenya since the country attained independence from the British,” says Daniel Letoiye, a Samburu County resident who previously worked as a programme officer with NRT.

However, hidden in the fine print are consequences that are considered grave for the pastoralist groups in Northern Kenya. “Even when droughts occur, many of the pastoralist groups [who have signed up to the agreements] cannot access part of their lands that are now set aside for wildlife conservation and which constitute community conservancies,” says Michael Lalampaa, an official with the Higher Education Loans Board who hails from Samburu County.

Samburu comunity elders discuss their perspectives with the author in Samburu County

Lalampaa complains that the NRT compels communities to set aside the best portions of their lands for the exclusive use of wildlife and the tourist investors. Lalampaa says that the organisation usually identifies leaders and elites within relevant communities who aid in persuading the pastoralists to set aside big parcels of land for conservation purposes. “Once the agreements are put in place, it becomes impossible for the herders to access some areas with pastures in the conservancies … they are confronted by armed scouts who evict them.” He adds that it is “sad that at times, livestock ends up dying simply because the owners cannot graze the animals in what used to be their own lands.”

This has proven problematic especially since vast sections of the relevant rangelands have been depleted year-in, year-out by overgrazing and are inhabited by people who have become increasingly vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of livestock end up competing over the remaining patches of grasslands and dwindling water sources such as the Ewaso Nyiro River.

This happens, as copious reports show, in an area largely ignored by the Kenya government, inhabited by

morans, have taken up cattle- rustling as a traditional pastime.

Claims have also been made that NRT’s activities have far-reaching implications on the entire country and therefore need to be handled with more than casual attention by Kenya’s allies across the world, the government as well as the people of Kenya.

“The sheer geographical, financial, cultural, and political scale of this intervention calls for a lot more thought than has been given to it thus far,” said Dr Mordecai Ogada, a conservation consultant based in Laikipia County.

Dr Ogada believes that the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has “abdicated” from its responsibility to inspire the formation and sound management of conservation activities outside Kenya’s protected areas. But top officials at KWS – which has lately been experiencing financial difficulties – deny this, saying that they see no problem with the operations of the NRT.

However, KWS appears critical of recent moves by foreign governments to fund the NRT. “Conservation NGOs like NRT have recently benefited from funding from development partners, following the paradigm shift where development partners and other governments prefer to fund communities through NGOs rather than governments directly,” said Paul Gathitu, KWS spokesperson and head of corporate communications.

Attempts by New African to elicit comments from NRT met with no success. Nevertheless, on its website, the organisation – which calls itself a “movement” – announces that it has been raising funds to aid the formation and running of conservancies.

NRT also says that it supports the training of relevant communities and helps to “broker agreements between conservancies and investors”. It claims that it provides donors with “a degree of oversight” by participating directly in how community conservancies and incomes accrued are managed. This was evident as New African toured eight conservancies in Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu and Laikipia, where NRT has appointed its own managers who are in charge of the day-to-day running of the conservancies.

Besides the managers, there are the members of the Board and grazing committees who are, on paper, supposed to be making decisions that suit the needs of the true owners of the land.

However, there is evidence that main decisions are made by NRT and that the organisation has maintained little or no engagement with the owners of the land and local public institutions.

Besides the US, NRT’s activities are funded by a host of other private companies and bodies in the West. Some of the principal donors to NRT include the Danish Development Agency (DANIDA); the Nature Conservancy (a US-based international NGO); and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) of France. NRT is also bankrolled by other donors who fund its long-term programmes – including Fauna & Flora International, Zoos South Australia, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ of Germany), US Fish and Wildlife Service, San Diego Zoo, International Elephant Foundation, Saint Louis Zoo, Running Wild and others. These latter donors have boosted what NRT terms a pooled conservation fund that has a lifespan of more than five years.

The Tullow Oil Company, that has been involved in oil prospecting in Turkana County, has funded NRT to the tune of $11.5m in a five-year project meant to aid the latter in establishing and operating new conservancies in Turkana and West Pokot counties.

Seventy per cent of the money was meant to go directly to community conservancies’ bank accounts for meeting operational costs (i.e. staff salaries, the purchase and running of vehicles, the acquisition of computers and other equipment), while 30% was to enable the formation and management of the conservancies.

The NRT has maintained little or no engagement with the owners of the land and local public institutions

But this did not go down well with the Turkana County government, which declared the relevant conservancies illegal, with the County Executive for Energy, Environment & Natural Resources ordering NRT to stop its operations there.

Later, the County Governor, Josphat Nanok, termed NRT’s move to establish conservancies in Turkana as “ill-advised with a hidden agenda”.

Josephat Nanok, Turkana County Governor

Dr Ogada believes that the millions of dollars in grants given by the US and other countries in the West have made NRT a “launch pad” for what he terms “a new conservation paradigm” in East Africa.

“NRT has championed this model of conservation very actively for the last decade [resulting] in a situation where challenges or mistakes aren’t spoken about by donors or implementers because of the sheer scale of professional and financial investment in an institution [which like all others] does have inherent weaknesses,” he added.

The NRT’s security function is considered one of the most controversial aspects of the community conservancy movement in Kenya. Usually, maintenance of security within countries is a preserve of governments. But on its website, the organisation says that it inspires community conservancies to “tackle insecurity holistically”.

This includes conducting anti-poaching operations, wildlife monitoring and providing what it terms “invaluable [support] to the Kenya Police in helping to tackle cattle rustling and road banditry”.

The organisation says that by 2014, it had facilitated the training of 645 rangers who operate in the conservancies while Dickson ole Kaelo, the chief executive of the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, reported that over 2,300 community rangers have been trained so far.

Normally, the organisation selects community members and takes them for training by the KWS’s personnel at the wildlife agency’s Manyani Training School, close to Kenya’s biggest national park, Tsavo.

Here, the rangers are taught “bush craft skills, as well as how to effectively gather and share intelligence, monitor wildlife and manage combat situations”. The involvement of KWS in the training of the community rangers was confirmed, but downplayed, by Michael Kipkeu, KWS’s Senior Assistant Director in charge of the Community Wildlife Service. “The KWS law enforcement academy provides tailor-made community scouts’ training.”

After being trained by KWS, the rangers are given more advanced training than what is posted on the NRT’s website. For instance, according to the Save the Rhino NGO, the rangers are given Kenya Police Reserve accreditation and “sufficient weapons handling training”.

Such advanced training involves tactical movement with weapons, ambush and anti-ambush drills, handling and effective usage of night-vision and thermal-imaging equipment, and ground-to-air communications and coordination.

There are also suspicions that the bigger scheme is to ensure that Kenya unwittingly “forfeits” some of the lands under the NRT by getting them declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

The scheme to have UNESCO declare some of the biggest private game ranches and wildlife conservancies in Laikipia, Samburu, and islands in the Coast as World Heritage Sites is now being pursued in earnest.

“Legally, the move may not amount to much but knowing how lobbying is done, if the government were to [seek to] change ownership, listings would be put up to demonstrate how special these ranches are and why they should remain with the present landowners,” said Njenga Kahiro, a former Programme Officer with Laikipia Wildlife Forum. The aim, Kahiro avers, is “to create a super-big protected area … all of it [covered by] the World Heritage Convention.”

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PETITION ON BRUTAL MURDER OF YOUTHFUL IBRAHIM MOHAMED HUKA BY GSU OFFICER IN ISIOLO ON 20/05/2017

                                       21/05/2017

Macharia Njeru,
The Chairman,
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority,
1st Ngong Avenue, ACK Garden Annex, 2nd floor,
P.O. Box 23035 – 00100
NAIROBI.
E-mail: info@ipoa.go.ke

Dear Sir,

RE: BRUTAL MURDER OF YOUTHFUL IBRAHIM MOHAMED HUKA BY GSU OFFICER IN ISIOLO ON 20/05/2017

I am kindly petitioning your esteemed instutition regarding the above emotive subject which is not only inhumane but also a beastly act on the part of the security officer meted against an unarmed and innocent 21-year-old man who has not committed any unlawful acts. Ibrahim was shot dead during a peaceful political procession along the Marsabit – Garba Tulla junction in Isiolo town on Saturday at 4.30 PM by General Service Unit officer who had gone to clear the road so that they may proceed with their Journey.

Supporters of a Jubilee Party team who were on a peaceful roadshow candidly reported that the officer aimed and shot at the deceased as he was running for his life. Among prominent personalities who witnessed the incidents include Isiolo County gubernatorial candidate on jubilee tickets; Hon. Abdul Bahari, Isiolo North Member of Parliament Hon. Joseph Samal, Senatorial aspirant Mohammed Liban, Woman Representative aspirant Rehema Jaldesa and Isiolo South Aspirant Abduba Molu.

The deceased was rushed to Isiolo County Referral Hospital which was a few kilometres away from the scene of crime. Isiolo Medical Superintendent Stephen Kiluva confirmed that the man was already dead upon arrival. Detectives who visited Isiolo County Referral Hospital reported that the man was shot in the head. It was also reported that the political leaders and other stakeholders had earlier raised a complaint to security officers specifically to Isiolo County Commissioner George Natembeya on a plot by their rivals to disrupt their rally and they did seek security for their supporters and that of opponents as well. However, their plight to the County security boss fell on deaf ears. The broader picture here is one of utter impunity and our fear is that the pattern of extrajudicial killings will only worsen with such trigger-happy police officers supervised by compromised security bosses.

The action and complacency on the part of the officers outrightly infringes on many basic rights and freedoms protected in Kenya’s constitution and international human rights law, time is now for the Kenyan security organs to focus on how Kenyan security agencies have for long violated human rights with impunity and discipline such rogue officers especially during this season of electioneering.

Moreover, the Kenyan Constitution, upholds both repealed and present, which included or includes the right to life, the prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, the right to a remedy, the right to security of the person and the right to effective remedy, among other provisions.

The Kenyan laws which includes; the Police Act, the Criminal Procedure Code, the International Crimes Act, and various other acts governing the police and policing, among others are clear and well stated.

In addition to that, the International treaties to which Kenya is a party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and the Treaty of the East African Community buttresses the existing homeland security laws.

The Nuremburg Trials forever redefined the course of history. That never again shall any man violate the dignity of others without accountability. Men in uniform who wield the comparative advantage of power and instruments of State over their people can no longer abuse such positions without recourse in law.

In this regard, we are demanding thorough investigations into this heinous killing and prosecute those who are responsible and establish a special team within the Department of Public Prosecutions to ensure that investigations and prosecutions are credible and independent. We want severe action to be taken against this heartless officer within the next 24 hours.

Yours Sincerely,

CONCERNED ISIOLO RESIDENT

Copied to;

Keriako Tobiko ESQ, LLB(Hons), Nbi. Dip. Law (KSL), LLM
(CANTAB), FCCS,
Director of Public Prosecutions,
NSSF Building, Block ‘A’ 19th Floor,
P.O Box 30701- 00100,
NAIROBI.
Mobile: 0723202880/0787880580
Hon. Prof. Githu Muigai- EGH, SC
Attorney General,
Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice,
Sheria House, Harambee House,
P.O. Box 40112-00100,
NAIROBI.
E-mail: info@ag.go.ke
Maj. Gen. Joseph Nkaissery, EGH
Cabinet Secretary,
Ministry of Interior & Cordination
of National Government,
Harambee House, Harambee Avenue,
P.O Box 30510-00100,
NAIROBI.
Chairman,
Johnstone Kavuludi,
National Police Service Commission
P.O Box 47363 – 00100
Sky Parkplaza,5th Floor, Westlands,
NAIROBI.
Francis Muhoro Ndegwa,
Director,
Directorate of Criminal Investigations
P.O. Box 30036 – 00100 Nairobi
Mazingira Hse,Kiambu Road.
Opp. Forestry Department Headquarters, Karura
Tel +254 020 3343312.
The Chief Executive Officer,
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights,
Ist Floor, CVS Plaza, Lenana Road,
P.O Box 74359-00200,
NAIROBI.
Phone: +254 20 2717900/020-2717908/073380000/0724256448
The Chief Executive Officer,
Kenya Human Rights Commission,
Gitanga Road opp. Valley Arcade Shopping Center,
P.O Box 41079-00100,
NAIROBI
Phone +254-20 2044545 +254 20 2106763,
Mobile +254-722-264497 +254-733-629034
The Chairman,
National Cohesion and Integration Commission,
KMA Centre, 6th Floor, Mara Rd, Upper Hill,
P.O. Box 7055-00100,
NAIROBI.
Tel- +254-020-2585702/3/1
                               

INSECURITY TAKING CENTRE STAGE AHEAD OF GENERAL ELECTIONS.

 

By Salad Malicha

Kenya is approaching towards one of the most polarised polls slated for 8th August this year and as such security for the citizen needs to be spruce up by the government.

However, going by the recent spate of violence/killings related to the upcoming general election in different parts of the country, such as Baringo, Laikipia, Uasin gishu and Isiolo, Kenyans cannot say that they live in a safe and secure country. Increasingly, following the widespread incidences of violence, a “siege mentality” seems to be taking root in the Country. Unfortunately, oftentimes when a nation feels that it is under siege, especially on matters of security, it is normally seen as “acceptable” to suspend fundamental freedoms and liberties in the name of maintaining national security and keeping everybody safe. The government has the sole constitutional duty of keeping the country safe and secure. The foregoing duty cannot be abrogated. It is a duty that the government effectively discharges in partnership with the community.

The Constitutional provision on the rule of law under Article 10 binds all State organs and all people to observe and respect the rule of law and embrace Constitutionalism. The National Security organs are expected to observe respect of Human Rights and Human dignity and the rule of law. The National security organs are duty bound to protect the country against external and internal threats and in exercising this mandate respect for Human Rights is very fundamental. Failure of the security agencies to exercise this mandate has led to security threats facing the country. Recently in Isiolo town,  a young man was brutally murdered in cold blood by GSU security officer who were trained by taxpayers’ money . Strangely, the deceased man did not break any aspect of the law. As a matter of fact the deceased man was in a peaceful Jubilee political roadshow afew hours after President Uhuru’s visit to the County to drum-up support for the Jubilee party. The deceased young man was neither armed nor was he taking part in any kind of protest or demonstration. Perhaps, the only weapon the young man was putting on Jubilee shirt. I am fully convinced that such reckless action by the security tantamount to extra-judicial killing sponsored by the State. Extra-judicial killings do not only constitute a violation of the right to life. It is an affront to the rule of law and the realization of justice which are key ideals in a democratic society. Further, the Constitution prohibits the taking away of life in unconstitutional ways.

 

We stand united in prayer with the ever peaceful community of Isiolo town who are counting losses and are living in constant fear and anger following that ugly incident. At this moment in time, we stand with the bereaved family and friends of the killed man during this time of difficulties. May God give them strength.

 

Chapter Fourteen – National Security; Article 238 – Principles of National Security. National Security is the protection against internal and external threats to Kenya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, its people, their rights, freedoms, property, peace, stability and prosperity, and other national interests.

 

As a country, we need to stand together and reject the culture of brutality, impunity and violence by our own security officers especially during this electioneering period. Security chiefs in Isiolo County have been compromised by known politician for last four months and sadly they are working at the behest of this politician.

 

The time has come for the government to implement security sector reforms and put in place community policing in our society because the much hyped ‘Nyumba kumi’ initiative is dead at its inception.

STATE BANS NIGHT POLITICAL MEETINGS IN ISIOLO OVER SECURITY

A crowd aboard a lorry during a recent political rally in Isiolo Town. The government has banned night political meetings in Isiolo County, citing insecurity. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VIVIAN JEBET (Daily Nation Reporter)

IN SUMMARY

– He said surveillance on politicians is necessary since some of them incite the public to gain cheap ethnic popularity.

– He said no incidents of incitement have been reported.

But admitted that some locals recently conflicted over sharing of money dished out by politicians.

– The government has banned night political meetings in Isiolo County over security concerns.

Isiolo Deputy County Commissioner Mwachaunga Chaunga, while announcing the ban, cautioned that anyone found conducting political meetings will face the law.

The administrator further disclosed that the government is working closely with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to monitor hate speech by politicians.

“We have increased our surveillance countywide to monitor political leaders who spread hate messages and incite the public,” he said.

Mr Chaunga said surveillance on politicians is necessary since some of them incite the public to gain cheap ethnic popularity.

He said no incidents of incitement have been reported but admitted that some locals recently conflicted over sharing of money dished out by politicians.

“Politicians should sell their manifestoes to the public freely but should refrain from inciting youths,” he added.

The Government to investigate and act on Security Chief’s in Isiolo County

There deep-seated concerns regarding the conduct and character of the security chiefs who are working at the behest and whims of the current Isiolo Senator who is out to prop up his dwindling political ambition. The Senator has resulted to misuse the entire organ of what is formerly called Provincial Administration to enhance his skewed and narrow political interest.

 

The security officers particularly some Chiefs , Assistant Commissioners & County Commissioner have been compromised since they had a closed-door meeting at ungodly hours at Sportman Arms Hotel in Nanyuki on 17th February, 2017. During the meeting the security officers were given candid instructions to conduct mass voter transfer and carry out sustained campaign for the Senator in exchange of good perks bankrolled by him. Merti, Garbatulla and Isiolo Deputy Sub-County Commissioners were not present. I am reliably informed that, Isiolo District Commissioner was deliberately snubbed. The County Commissioner was represented by his Personal Assistant. The conspiracy scheme hatched by the security chiefs tantamount to gross violation of the Constitution, Chiefs’ Authority Act, Public Officer Ethics Act, Election Act & Leadership and Integrity Act.

To jog your memory, the Nuremburg Trials forever redefined the course of history. That never again shall any man violate the dignity of others without accountability. Men in uniform who wield the comparative advantage of power and instruments of State over their people can no longer abuse such positions without recourse in law. Additionally, the corollary of the foregoing has been the very obvious inability and/or reluctance of a leader like Senator Kuti to hold to account the security chiefs when their performance is called into question, not because of political witch-hunting, but because of multiple glaring and very public failures he has exhibited for far too long. It is this combination of politicized security agencies, the resultant incompetent and corrupt leadership and the failure to hold said leaders to account that has now come home to roost. Security organs are only accountable to the people of Kenya but not to serve politicians and their vested interests.

To further his selfish political

Chief with the Senator

desires the Senator has been campaigning using relief food which is a flagship project of the Ministry of Devolution meant to mitigate the current biting drought. The security chiefs began executing Kuti’s elaborate campaign agenda by organising public “Baraza” under the guise of security meetings that will offer platform for the Senator.

8 officers (Names withheld) attended Sportman Arm’s Hotel meeting with Kuti and they are heavily compromised with unsolicited amount of cash to enhance the Senator’s illegitimate schemes; The group was led by the Current Assistant Commissioner, Isiolo Central.

Chief with the Senator

The reality is that Kenyans adopted a new constitutional order with the hope that it will lift us from the bad governance. The Constitution that now governs us is the supreme law that binds all and sundry. In the last couple of weeks the Constitution has been violated on numerous occassions by Senator Kuti and Security Chiefs. Chapter 14 of the Constitution provides an accountable framework for the organs of national security. Section 239(5) provides that these organs “are subordinate to civilian authority” while section 59(2)(d) gives the Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission powers “to monitor, investigate and report on the observance of human rights in all spheres of life in the Republic, including observance by national security organs”.

This matter needs to be investigated expeditiously and serious disciplinary action to be taken against the involved officers.

Letter written by Deputy Commissioner warning Security officers

The above is a copy of letter sanctioned by Isiolo Central Deputy Sub-County Commissioner date 2nd March, 2016 (Ref:MISC/CONF/3/VOL VIII/86- Conduct of officers during the electioneering period)

KDF Kulbhiyow Attack, A story of valour, bravery, victory by KDF and horror for Al-Shabaab terrorist at Friday dawn.

By David Goldman-Goldman is a renowned intelligence news analyst and a reputed investigative journalist.(Strategic Intelligence Service)

On 27th of January 2017, the last Friday of the 1st month of the new year, the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen Movement (HSM), staged what terrorism and counter terrorism experts and military intelligence officials in the coalition forces now call their last attempt to attack the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) forces deployed in Somalia under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) mandate.

Approximately 183 elite fighters of the terror group including some from a brigade code-named ‘the butchers’ were killed and over 100 wounded by Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) at the KDF-AMISOM base in Kolbiyow (Kolbio) at the border region of Somalia. The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) military intelligence battle damage assessment (BDA and Situation Reports) confirmed that the army lost several soldiers in the theater.

The Batlle of Kulbhiyow (Kolbio)

HSM aka Al-Shabaab at 0400HRS EAT deployed 3 suicide vehicle bound improvised explosive devices (SVBIED) and 550 of its most elite fighters drawn from different bases in Somalia including Hiraan and Bay. These fighters were handpicked by Ali Dheere and Maalim Osman, the commanders tasked by Al-Shabaab Shura Council to conduct the attack. The fighters were from terrorists most admired brigades namely the Saleh Nahbahn Brigade, Jaysh Ayman which operates from Somalia’s border with Kenya, and the Abu Zubeyr brigade. All these groups were involved in all attacks against AMISOM troops (Ref: Janaale, Leego, Halgan, and El-Adde in 2016). The mission of the 550 terrorists was to kill each and every of the 123 soldiers stationed at the base before 0800HRS, raise and hoist the flag of the terrorists before distributing pictures of dead Kenyan soldiers on social media to horrify the world and earn glory.

Despite the beautiful dawn beckoning, the few men besides their doctors, nurses, scouts, cooks, priests, and their commanders, lay quietly for the enemy. They had prepared well. The cold morning of Friday the 27th of January kept reassuring them of a day of valor ahead. “Today we make Kenya proud. Today we will free the Somali people from the chains of a relentless enemy”…they kept reassuring each other. With the fingers clutching their machineguns firmly, finger on the trigger, and eyes wide open, the few men from the Kenya Riffles Unit based in Mombasa waited.

With his shoulder never tiring in anticipation, an army sergeant kept feeling the trigger of his special forces shoulder fired Rocket Grenade Propeller (RPG), the damn thick was intact than ever. His collegue, an army Captain using his night visions firmly held with his left hand gave the signal, “There they are, 3 trucks. Lights off, and speeding towards target! Fire!”

The Sergeant pulled it. The whispering tremolo, the barren solitude, and constant waiting ended in a myriad of fireballs and massive explosions. The first suicide bomber was killed and his truck bomb decommissioned. This was the trap, and the enemy fell for it. KDF machine gunners, snipers, and RPG units readied their weapons. It’d be in 10 minutes before the enemy reached the desired range.

The RPG gunner fired another grenade targeting the second suicide bomber truck (SVBIED). His kill was perfect, and the barrenness of the night was ended by distant screams of countless yells of “Allah Akbar!”

“Here they come! Give them nothing but what they deserve!” The CO whispered to his men ready to destroy an enemy who was murderous and in many folds!

“Aye Sir!”

The screams of ‘Allah Akbar’ and the explosion of the 3rd SVBIED were simultaneous. The RPG gunner narrowly missed it but it hit an abandoned gate outpost.

It was the thunderous and simultaneous automatic machinegun fire and flares from the Kenya Army outposts and positions that opened the dawn.

And like a song in twilight, the battle of Kolbio began. A Sniper perched on a low hanging branch kept counting his kills until his unit commander told him to allow him count his. For 45 minutes, the KDF gunners pinned down the 1st wave of the enemy fighters ending their approach to the base.

At 0515HRS another wave of PKM machinegun fire great the dusk of this action packed last Friday of January 2017. The army began their merciless onslaught, shooting dead every one of the approaching enemy combatants. By 0620HRS, orders to cease firing were given. The soldiers were instructed to withdraw from the position and tactically take positions outside the base to ensure complete annihilation of the enemy.

The last of the militant’s brigades again fell for the trap, mistaking the tactical withdrawal of the army men for retreat. Assuming they had captured the AMISOM-KDF base in Kolbio at 7.15am East African Time, the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen Movement (HSM) last men were attacked from all fronts by the Kenya Army soldiers. The guns blazed from the unseen positions hitting the enemy with brute force and precision. A Private would load a machine gun and the gunner would pat his back. The Commanding Officer kept yelling praise and motivation to his gallant soldiers despite several falling under the enemy fire.

AMISOM troops fired artillery shells at the eastern end of the base where more than 100 fighters were celebrating and receiving orders from their commander identified as Maalim Osman. On the front where the SVBIED had detonated mortars rained on the approximately 200 terrorists celebrating and receiving instructions from Al-Shabaab commander Ali Dheere. The simultaneous attack divided the attackers into different groups forcing each to run for its live. Screams of pain and dying terrorists rocked the air. Horrified fighters ran as others were felled by machine gun fire. The elite brigades of the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen Movement (HSM) were now running away from what AMISOM has claimed as the worst defeat of the Al-Shabaab terror groups history.

The terrorist’s commanders opted abandoning the attack and ordered the terrorists to retreat as fast as they could. As more fighters were shot dead and many more mowed down by machinegun fire, demoralized HSM commanders started confiscating mobile phones from the militias and ordered use of VHF and UHF Radio to avoid leakage of the horrifying defeat at Kolbio.

With the barrels of the machineguns, automatic rifles, and RPG’s smoldering hot, the Kenya Defense Forces watched from the tactically advantageous positions as the enemy fell down and retreated in utter defeat. Their fingers and arms blistered by the hot barrels, soldiers emerged from their positions, raising the flag of KDF and AMISOM high for Somalia.

Intelligence shows over 150+ terrorists are unaccounted for including both Commanders Ali Dheere, and Maaalim Osman. In Jiliib, the headquarters of the terrorists, 80+ badly wounded terrorists were received yesterday afternoon. This attack is believed to be a big setback for the terror group. AMISOM Intelligence says Al-Shabaab suffered the highest number of causalities during an artillery and mortar operation by AMSIOM troops. The bravery of the KDF soldiers in defense of their base was huge. This is valor and honor.