NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery says northern Kenya leaders who made claims about mass graves in Mandera must apologise or face the law.
He particularly singled out area Senator Billow Kerrow who addressed a press conference on Monday, alleging the existence of mass graves in the region.
“I demand that any leader that made the sensational statements and allegation about the existence of mass graves retract in full and apologise to the nation for their alarmist statements or face the full force of the law,” he warned.
“I equally call on the appropriate security agencies to hold on account anyone who may have broken the law in this regard.”
Nkaissery spoke on Wednesday after a court-sanction excavation in Mandera on Tuesday produced no buried bodies.
The CS also spoke out against journalists Mohammed Ali and Yassin Juma, accusing them of supporting terror groups in the country and threatening national security.
“This young man called Mohammed Ali has the habit of permanently putting the security organs of this country at the expense of Al-Shabaab,” he lamented.
“He has been (portraying) the security in the negative and the Al-Shabaab in the positive. He shows Al-Shabaab training and our people in the opposite.”
“Kenyans should know that there are numerous interests that seem inclined to destroy the nation,” he cautioned.
In the case of Mandera, he said the “actors that assembled in Mandera yesterday (Tuesday) were Kenya’s severest critics, some outside the country, who incidentally, had been assembled at hand, in readiness to be triggered for this propaganda.”
He categorically stated that there are no mass graves found in Mandera or any other part of the country.
On Wednesday, following insistence by the area political leaders, who cited fears that people could be buried deep in the ground, excavators were taken there and equally yielded nothing.
“No bodies were found,” a visibly angry Nkaissery said.
Rumours about mass graves started on Sunday when the body of a woman was discovered in Mandera, days after she had been picked by unknown people from her vegetables business in the town.
On Wednesday, CS Nkaissery denied government involvement in her death, but said that she had been an Al-Shabaab cook in Somalia.
According to intelligence reports, he said, the woman was cooking for the militia operating in Bula Hawa before they were rooted out of the area by the Kenya Defence Forces.
“She is a sympathizer or a member of Al-Shabaab. We don’t know what happened to her. She could have been killed by her people,” he said.
Area lawmakers had accused the Kenya Defence Forces of engaging in extra-judicial killings, reports that were denied by the Forces spokesperson David Obonyo.
Obonyo said the mandate of KDF was only to deter external aggression while challenging those with evidence to provide it to relevant authorities.