World Bulletin/News Desk
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta sacked Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku and accepted the retirement request of police chief David Kimaiyo, hours after an attack by Al-Shabaab militant group left 36 people dead in the northeastern Mandera County.
"David Kimaiyo offered to retire and I have accepted the retirement request. I therefore take this opportunity to thank David Kimaiyo for his many years of service to our nation," Kenyatta said in a televised address to the nation.
"Further to this, I have nominated (retired) Major General Joseph Nkaissery as the new Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government," the Kenyan leader said.
The announcement came as Kenyans went to social media platforms expressing rage over the growing insecurity in the country and called for the immediate resignation of the two officials.
Kenya has recently been hit by a spate of attacks that authorities typically blame on the Somali Al-Shabaab militant group, which demands that Nairobi withdraw its troops from Somalia.
The latest of these attacks hit Mandera earlier Tuesday, with militants killing at least 36 workers in a local quarry.
In his address, Kenyatta admitted that his country has been subjected to a long history of murder and violence at the hand of bandits, terrorists and extremists.
"For over two decades now, Kenya has endured immense vulnerability owing to the collapse of the Somalia government in 1991," he said.
"This led to civil war in that country, and provided space for bandits to roam the entire region at will," he added.
"This space became ideal for terrorists to train and plan far-reaching attacks in the region, continent and even abroad," he added.
The Kenyan leader argued that Kenya has borne the brunt of these cross-border attacks with the latest attack coming in the early hours of Tuesday.
"These terrorist attacks have claimed the lives of more than 500 civilians and 300 security officers," Kenyatta noted.
"Today’s attack in Mandera targeted a soft area, leaving 36 Kenyans dead," Kenyatta said.
"The ultimate aim of this atrocious campaign is to establish an extremist caliphate in our region," he added.
Kenyatta went on to say that extremists in the Horn of Africa region have been successful in carrying out attacks in Kenya with the aid of sympathizers and collaborators in Kenya.
He also asserted that Kenya and the East African Community will not relent in the war against terror in the country and the region at large.
"We shall continue to inflict painful casualties on these terrorists until we secure our country and region," the leader Kenyan asserted.
Kenyatta also praised the Muslim community in Kenya as "hard-working and peaceful" people and asked it to join the battle against extremists.
"We ask you to continue standing with your country and compatriots as always and not to give in to the desires of terrorists who may use your religion to manipulate or coerce you," the president said.
"All Kenyans understand Islam to be a religion of peace, because Allah is gracious and merciful," he added.
Opposition plans anti-president rallies
Kenya’s opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) said Tuesday it plans to hold public rallies nationwide to call on President Uhuru Kenyatta and military chief Julius Karangi to resign.
"We [have] resolved to join with like-minded parties and groups to embark on countrywide meetings, rallies and other gatherings…to save [the country] from the leadership's failure we [are] bearing witness to right now," the coalition said in a statement released in Nairobi on Tuesday.
The statement, however, did not say when the rallies would be held. When contacted by The Anadolu Agency, CORD spokesman Phillip Etale said that the opposition coalition is preparing a schedule for the activities.
"The rallies will take place soon, before the end of the year," he told AA.
Demanding the resignation of Karangi, the opposition 's release cited two recent attacks in the country's northeastern Mandera County, which left scores dead.
"Mandera attacks, like the Westgate attack and many others have been perpetrated by external forces. Yet, General Karangi has seen no need to explain to Kenyans why and when our nation will be safe," the release said.
CORD is led by Raila Amolo Odinga, one of Kenya’s longest-serving political prisoners, having spent eight years in detention during the one-party rule of retired president Daniel arap Moi.
Odinga then served as prime minister of a coalition government between 2008 and 2013.Last Mod: 02 Aralık 2014, 16:46