Kenya Issues Border Security Alert

NAIROBI, Kenya (PANA) - Kenya has placed her security forces on high alert along sections of her border with Ethiopia, in response to the worsening security situation around the border towns of Sololo and Moyale.
The border towns and surrounding villages have of late experienced deteriorating security caused by armed clashes between Ethiopian government forces and rebels of the Oromo Liberation Front(OLF), fighting for a homeland in the south of the country.

Last week, Kenya police reservists exchanged fire with infiltrators from Ethiopia, but it could not be immediately established whether they were the OLF insurgents or the regular soldiers.

According to security sources, the Kenyan soldiers at the border comprise infantrymen, regular and administration policemen and reservists. The infantrymen have a base at Sololo. The Kenyans are patrolling the border on foot and in trucks, as well as undertaking reconnaissance exercises in the hilly sections of the border.

Last week, Ethiopian forces attacked the OLF around the border regions and caused the flight of Kenyans from the villages of Anona, Wayegoda and Madoadi towards Sololo town.

The Ethiopians, while pursuing the OLF insurgents into Kenya, claimed that some members of the Gabbra and Borana communities in the Kenyan district of Marsabit were sympathetic to the OLF cause.

Ethiopia last week deployed lightly armed infantrymen on the border areas, particularly the town of Idilala, which overlooks Sololo.

Infantry soldiers and civilian defence units have also been deployed in the Ethiopian town of Tuka and were reportedly poised to attack OLF insurgents.

The eastern provincial police commander, Stanley Manyinya, confirmed the reports Saturday, saying that the deployment of soldiers along the border was not extraordinary and should not cause alarm.

''We are not at war with Ethiopia,'' Manyinya said but did not disclose the size of Kenyan forces at the border.

Moyale district commissioner, Simon Kipkabut, also confirmed the deployment. He urged Kenyans who had fled their homes in the affected areas to return.

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