Kenyan charged with Killing S.Korean sailor

February 19, 2011 12:00 am

, MOMBASA, Kenya, Feb 19 – A Kenyan woman accused of murdering a South Korean sailor only three days after he returned to Mombasa after four months of captivity in the Indian Ocean will remain in police custody for the next two weeks.

Mombasa High Court judge Jackton Ojwang on Friday ordered that Beatrice Auma Oguta be held at the Central Police Station for the next 14 days to enable investigating officers complete their work.

Ms Auma, 28, was arrested on Thursday at a Mombasa hotel, where she had allegedly spent the night with Kim Yong-Hyun, the chief engineer of the 241-ton Keummi 305.

State Counsel Alexander Muteti filed a notice of motion which he urged the court to certify as urgent, saying the matter had elicited a lot of interest considering the deceased was a foreigner who had just been set free after an ordeal with pirates.

The late Korean sailor had just arrived in the coastal city after his release by Somali pirates alongside 39 Kenyan crew members captured last October.

A security guard at the hotel heard Mr Kim falling to the ground from his fourth-floor room, officials said.

The guard was quoted as saying that Kim was with the woman at the time and he heard them quarreling before Mr Kim\’s plunge.

The accused clad in a torn t-shirt and black jeans, sat composed at the dock and briefly engaged with some lawyers.

Kim, 68, was one of 43 crew members — two Koreans, two Chinese and the 39 Kenyans — freed on February 9, four months after their fishing trawler was hijacked in Kenyan waters.

The boat arrived Tuesday in the Kenyan port of Mombasa under escort by a Finnish warship.

Its captain Kim Dae-Geun, 54, has described his months in captivity as "hell", saying he feared constantly for his life because his captors continually threatened the crew with loaded guns.

The chief engineer had dinner Wednesday with the captain, who noticed nothing unusual about his companion, the ministry said.

Yonhap news agency, quoting an unidentified official, said the engineer had been pondering whether to return to South Korea after the captain asked him to continue working in Kenya.

The reasons for the trawler\’s release are unclear. But sources have said the pirates may have seen little hope of ransom since the boat\’s owner had gone bankrupt, and could have found it difficult to feed the crew.


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