MOMBASA, Kenya June 26 – Lamu Governor Issa Timamy will spend the weekend in police custody after facing charges of murder, forceful eviction of populations and terrorism over the Mpeketoni attacks.
Mombasa High Court judge Martin Muya has ordered that the governor be detained at the Port Police Station until Monday when he will rule on whether police should continue detaining him.
The prosecution through State Counsel Alexander Muteti wants to be given two more weeks to detain Timamy in their custody to facilitate an investigation over the killings of over 70 people in Mpeketoni.
“My lords as you will note from the grounds set out in this application, the suspect is being investigated for the offence of murder, forcible transfer of populations and terrorism related offences,” he said.
Timamy was arrested in Lamu on Monday night and spent the night at the Port Police Station in Mombasa.
“The nature of the offences, my Lords, calls for very serious and intensive investigations,” the State Counsel pleaded.
Timamy’s lawyer Paul Buti told journalists in Mombasa that he believed his client was innocent.
Detectives spent the better part of Thursday morning grilling the governor after spending the night at the Port Police Station following his arrest in Lamu on Wednesday.
The killings in Mpeketoni started on June 15 when heavily armed men raided the small town in Lamu county where they shot men and torched a number of businesses. They also raided the local police station in the attack that lasted more than four hours.
President Uhuru Kenyatta immediately blamed local political networks and warned that no one will be spared in the investigations regardless of their status in society.
He also ordered the transfer and prosecution of senior security personnel in the area, accusing them of sleeping on the job. But the stern warning seemed not to have stopped the attacks, as hours later the gunmen raided Maporomoko village near Mpeketoni and days later more deaths were visited on residents of another village in Witu.
Police on Wednesday also arrested 13 alleged separatists suspected of planning more attacks in the country’s coastal region.
An interior ministry statement posted on Twitter said those detained were plotting “ethnic cleansing” attacks and were members of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), which campaigns for independence of the coastal region.
Police in Lamu however, denied knowledge of the arrests.