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Kenya's president deploys military to quell drought violence

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson talks to soldiers at the British Army Training Unit Kenya, in Ole Naishu near Nanyuki, in Kenya Friday, March 17, 2017.

THOMAS MUKOYA/POOL /AP

By TOM ODULA | Associated Press | Published: March 17, 2017

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya's president on Friday ordered the military to deploy to the volatile counties of Baringo and Laikipia in the Rift Valley to calm deadly violence fueled by drought that affects roughly half the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta announced he has authorized the immediate deployment of the Kenya Defense Forces to support police operations there.

"The deployment will further assist in disarmament and surrender of illegally held arms," Kenyatta said. The military has been accused of human rights abuses, including torture and executions, in a number of domestic security operations.

At least 21 people have died in fighting between herders in Baringo county since early February. Thirteen people were killed this week. And in Laikipia county, a British farmer was killed this month by herders invading ranches in search of pasture and water.

Britain's foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, welcomed the decision to deploy troops to Laikipia, which has other British farmers affected by the land invasions. Johnson was in Kenya as part of a regional visit that also stopped in Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Kenya has declared a national disaster because of the drought that affects about half of the counties in this East African nation.

Johnson said Britain will give Kenya 4 million pounds ($4.9 million) to mitigate the effects of the drought.
 

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