THE HANDICAPS OF THE
People who do not understand what conditions are really like in Kenya, frequently ask how it is that Mau Mau has been able to hold out for so long against the combined forces of the Police, the Army, and Air Force, with their far greater resources of materials and superiority of weapons.
There are many different factors which contribute to the difficulties of operating successfully against the Mau Mau gangs and I shall try and point out some of them.
In the first place, a large part of the country in which Mau Mau operates is without proper roads, and, of course, a part of it is actual forest on the mountain slopes of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares. Communication systems are very bad and the area is vast. It is not at all easy, therefore, to get the news of the movements of a Mau Mau gang back to a point where there is a Guard Post, a Police Post, or a Military Camp, in time for the Security Forces to get into action before the gang that was the subject of the report has melted away.
Moving across country on foot, up and down steep hillsides--which even jeeps and land-rovers cannot negotiate --it is relatively easy for a gang to take evasive action from mechanical patrols. Foot patrols, on the security side, consist in a large part of personnel--both British and African--who are not really familiar with the terrain, and who therefore have to have guides drawn from among the local people, such as the Home Guards. But a guided party that is trying to follow a trail can never move so fast as a group of people who all know the district and who can scatter to meet again at a prearranged rendezvous,