Kenya army to probe shooting of 4 men at sea

AP News
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Posted: Nov 26, 2011 12:13 PM
Kenya army to probe shooting of 4 men at sea

Kenya's military is investigating an incident in which the navy shot at a boat, leading to the deaths of four men they believed were Somali militants but who may have been Kenyan fishermen, a spokesman said Saturday.

Col. Cyrus Oguna said a committee of military investigators will probe the early November incident and will make its findings public. Oguna said it is not clear whether the people in the boat were Kenyan.

"We have received complaints from a family from the coast that there are people who are Kenyans who were killed by the navy," Oguna said.

He said those in the boat defied an order to stop and surrender.

Kenyan Minister of Internal Security George Saitoti said in October that any speedboat which disobeys orders to stop by Kenyan security personnel will be "disabled." That comment followed the kidnapping a French woman who was taken by Somali militants. The French tourist_ a quadriplegic woman _ has since died in captivity.

Oguna said the investigation will unbiased, a statement possibly spurred by accusations of corruption in Kenya.

"We will not go out there and do a mock investigation, we will not go out their and fabricate investigations and manipulate investigations because we owe it to the Kenyan people," he said.

Kenya launched an offensive against al-Shabab militants in October after a string of kidnappings by Somali gunmen, including those of four Europeans, in Kenya. The government says the kidnappings threaten tourism, a key driver of the economy. Al-Shabab, Somalia's most dangerous militant group, has threatened to retaliate against Kenya's military incursion with suicide bombings in Kenya's capital

Oguna denied allegations that the military harassed people during door-to-door checks in regions near Kenya's border with Somalia following two explosions that killed six people Thursday night.

"I don't really believe that there is any Kenya Defense Forces troop that has harassed any Kenyan because were understand our role as Kenya Defense Forces is a force intended or meant to protect Kenyans," he said. "So some of those harassment complains attributed to KDF, if you research closely, you find those are not true stories."

He said the Kenyan air force had this week eliminated several al-Shabab training camps where recruits are trained and indoctrinated into the militia.

Meanwhile, a local leader said suspected al-Shabab militants on Friday night crossed into Kenyan territory and attacked Arabia village, nearly 30 miles (45 kilometers) south of the northeastern town of Mandera.

The group stole a rifle from the local police station before blowing up a communication mast, local official Hussein Aden Wiriq said.

Wiriq said nearly 40 militants armed with AK-47 rifles and bazookas entered the sleepy settlement in groups of two and riding on Land Cruisers and fired at the police camp, forcing the six officers attached to the post to run away after a brief shootout.

He said the group besieged the village for more than three hours.

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Associated Press writer Adow Jubat contributed to this report from Mandera, Kenya.