Shabaab Twitpic a goof, Kenyan military admits

January 12, 2012 4:29 pm


Militants bury Ibrahim in the ground/ PHOTO COURTESY MAILONLINE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – The Kenyan Military issued a public apology on Thursday for a misleading Twitter post by its spokesman on Wednesday showing a man he claimed to be a Kenyan being stoned to death by Al Shabaab in Somalia.

Emmanuel Chirchir had indicated in the Twitpic that the said Kenyan was executed on Tuesday, eliciting reactions from bloggers and his followers who pointed out that the same pictures were first published on the UK’s Daily Mail in December 2009 showing a man being stoned by Islamists over adultery.

“We acknowledge the tweet upload error, its reprint in our local press and regret the embarrassment caused across all our publics,” Chirchir said of the photo uploaded on his official Twitter account @MajorEChirchir.

The story was published on Thursday by the widely circulated Daily Nation and The Star which went on to re-publish the 2009 photos.

The Daily Mail had indicated at the time that: “This barbaric scene belongs in the dark ages, but pictures emerged today of a group of Islamic militants who forced villagers to watch as they stoned a man to death for adultery.

“Mohamed Abukar Ibrahim, a 48-year-old, was buried in a hole up to his chest and pelted with rocks until he died. The group responsible, Hizbul Islam, also shot dead a man they claimed was a murderer.”

On Thursday, Chirchir apologised for the anomaly saying “We appreciate the immediate concerns raised by our Twitter followers pointing out an anomaly on the Twitter account @MajorEChirchir.”

He said the military had “endeavoured to give authentic information to the public on Operation Linda Nchi and we shall continue to do so.”

“The tweet error should not be used as a reflection of our credibility especially on operational updates in the forum,” he said and pleaded that “we regard public information originating from us highly and this incident gives us an opportunity to improve on our public information disseminating mechanism.”

The military spokesman often tweets updates about the security operation against Al Shabaab in Somalia.


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