NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – Authorities in Lamu were notified of impending politically motivated attacks but failed to act, President Uhuru Kenyatta revealed on Tuesday, as he vowed tough action.
He said those who did not heed intelligence warnings had been suspended and would face charges in court.
“It is now clear that intelligence on this attack was availed to the security officers in Mpeketoni. Unfortunately, the officers did not act accordingly. This negligence and abdication of duty and responsibility is unacceptable. Accordingly, all concerned officers have been suspended and will be charged immediately in a court of law,” President Kenyatta said.
He warned that the government will take action against any other officers who fail to perform their duties, as they abet commission of crimes in the country.
President Kenyatta remained categorical that the Al Shabaab was not involved in the killing of at least 60 people in Mpeketoni, but that a politically instigated network was responsible.
“The attack in Lamu was well planned, orchestrated, and politically motivated ethnic violence against a Kenyan community, with the intention of profiling and evicting them for political reasons. This therefore, was not an Al Shabaab terrorist attack,” he said.
On Monday, Al Shabaab claimed responsibility over the killings, which the group said was a revenge attack for Kenya’s operation in Somalia as well as killing of Muslim clerics.
But according to Kenyatta, there was evidence to show that the attacks were politically motivated.
“Evidence indicates that local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of the heinous attacks. This also played into the opportunist networks of other criminal gangs.”
He further said that the government will not spare any people making inciting statements with a view of fuelling violence like the chaos witnessed in 2007/2008.
He expressed concern that negative statements were weakening Kenya’s war against terrorism.
“My Deputy and I undertook to make sure that the country will never go the route of ethnic division and political violence. I reiterate that Kenya will not go that route again! Those of you given to ill-thought, intemperate and reckless speech and conduct are now on notice: there will be accountability in accordance with the law. Reckless rhetoric, incitement and negative propaganda do not constitute responsible leadership. They will not be tolerated,” he cautioned.
He explained that security has been stepped up in Lamu following the two-day massacre.
He promised that the government would foot funeral expenses for the victims, fees for those in hospital and also assist those who lost their property rebuild their lives.