KENYA: Moyale District hospital was deserted Sunday after majority of patients fled from the institution following Saturday May 31st fighting between Ethiopia security agencies and members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) along the border.
Hours after the fighting, uniformed men armed with riffles stormed the hospital on Saturday morning and harassed both patients and staff.
The patients later fled from hospital citing fears of more attacks.
Moyale Hospital Medical Superintendent Kamau Mukui Sunday said only a few patients remained at the facility.
“Only two men and a woman are in the wards. Many patients have left,” Dr Mukui said.
But Moyale Deputy County Commissioner John Cheruiyot maintained that the hospital is secure and enough security officers including the military are manning the border.
Mr Cheruiyot said police officers are guarding the hospital and normalcy was slowly resuming. He sought to assure locals that the area is safe.
He said the entry into the hospital by foreign armed men was still under investigation.
“We are assuring residents of security,” Cheruiyot said.
=================Sunday May 31st
Meanwhile a Kenyan guard was killed and Moyale District Hospital stormed when Ethiopian forces and members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) exchanged fire at the border point near the Meteorological Department at 1a.m. yesterday.
Moyale OCPD Thomas Atuti identified the deceased as Boru Huka, a 55-year-old guard at Full Gospel Primary School.
The national government immediately said the OLF militia group was not in Kenya.
Marsabit County Commissioner Peter Thuku later said, “The Ethiopian fighters were in Illeret and at Sololo and Moyale on several occasions. I have relayed the message to the headquarters. This problem will be dealt with from Nairobi, but there is a real concern about forces crossing into our country.”
According to Abduba Wapo, Huka’s colleague, shortly after the gun fight that lasted hours, armed men in uniform rushed into the school.
“I hid behind the gate. They broke the fence and grabbed Huka then shot him several times in front of the school gate,” Abduba told The Standard on Sunday at the scene before recording a statement at Moyale Police Station. He said some attackers spoke Oromo.
At about 3a.m., the same uniformed men stormed Moyale District Hospital and harassed patients and staff.
The heavily armed men are said to have gone through the wards brandishing firearms. They could have been looking for injured Ethiopian rivals.
“I saw about seven men armed with rifles enter the maternity ward and harass patients,” Nuria Kasa, a nursing officer, said.
“When I asked the watchman what was happening, he said the group had broken the gate and marched into the hospital.”
The group left bullet holes in the nurses’ quarters.
Moyale DCIO Ayub Bakari said he had collected several cartridges from the scene and within the hospital compound.
Area Deputy County Commissioner John Cheruiyot said investigation is ongoing and they will release full details of the incident later in the day.
The incident came four days after Ethiopian security personnel allegedly disarmed a Kenyan police reservist in Uran Lataka, about 100km from Moyale Town.
Bakari said a rifle and 60 bullets were lost in the Tuesday incident. Ethiopians had also invaded Illeret ten days ago and two days later marched into Uran in Sololo District of Moyale Sub-county.
In a related story The Star on May 28 reported that about 20 armed men attacked a village near Sololo town, injuring two people and disarming a police reservist officer on Tuesday.
Moyale DCIO Ayub Bakari said the attackers, who were dressed in uniform, were Ethiopian security personnel locally known as “Dabaka” in their country.
The gang, which crossed over to Ethiopia shortly after the incident, left with one FN rifle and 60 rounds of ammunition belonging to Guyo Galgallo, a KPR officer.
He said no arrests have been made and the government gun is yet to be recovered, but investigations have been launched.
Residents said the gang harassed several villagers while demanding to know the whereabouts of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) members.
The locals said the attackers were armed with AK47 rifles and other weapons.
Lataka Chief Roba Duba recorded a statement on the incident at the CID office in Moyale on Wednesday.
He said KDF officers and police visited the village and deployed patrols.
This comes after Ethiopia denied reports that their armed forces had taken over Illeret Police station in North Horr, on Wednesday last week.
Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya Dina Sid, said the troops were patrolling their side of the land and were not on Kenyan soil as reported in the media.
During a press conference at State House Avenue, Nairobi, on Friday, Sid said the soldiers were on a border patrol mission ahead of elections to be held at the end of May.
Sid was reacting to reports that about 50 Ethiopian security forces armed with AK47 rifles crossed the border and stopped at the Police Station.
Sources said the troops stopped a police car and another belonging to an NGO, before disarming the officers and inspecting the occupants of both vehicles.