, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – You should beware what you share on WhatsApp, as one Eddy Reuben Illah has learnt.
Illah was on Tuesday charged with prohibited publication and broadcast for sharing on a WhatsApp group images of what he alleged were the Kenyan soldiers killed in an Al Shabaab attack in Somalia on Friday.
Illah who was arraigned before Kiambu Principal Magistrate Justus Kituku denied the charge and was remanded in custody pending the hearing of his case on February 9.
“On January 16 using a registered mobile distributed under WhatsApp group account namely ‘A young peoples union’ pictures of allegedly dead Kenya Defence Force officers, who were said to have been attacked and killed at El-Adde, Somalia knowing them to be grossly incitive and likely to cause fear and alarm to the general public,” the charge reads.
If found guilty, Illah would be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh5million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet on Sunday told Capital FM News that they were on the hunt for three other individuals who glorified the terrorist attack on social media and not for the first time. “Two of them have similar cases pending in court.”
Immediately following Friday’s dawn attack on an African Union military base in Somalia, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery firmly warned against the distribution of gory images taken of the dead and wounded.
There has been no official communication on the total number of Kenyan fatalities and casualties following the attack; only that search and rescue operations were ongoing.
“Let’s not pre-empt the outcome of the attack,” Nkaissery said on Saturday adding, “Very heavy causalities have been inflicted on the enemy (Al Shabaab); they lost more than we did.”
Four injured soldiers were however flown back home on Sunday for specialised treatment and four bodies flown back home on Monday night, for burial.
READ: Bodies of 4 fallen KDF soldiers arrive home
The government has said it is notifying families of the affected soldiers before making information on their fate public.