, NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 18 – Controversial blogger Robert Alai has been arrested for posting gory photographs of police officers killed in the latest attack in Wajir.
Alai was arrested Tuesday morning by officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), a day after Police Spokesman Charles Owino told journalists that action will be taken against him.
“As we mourn our fallen heroes, posting of their pictures online by one blogger is very unfortunate, inhuman, glorifies terror and is tantamount to supporting terrorism,” Owino said.
A detective based at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations confirmed the Tuesday morning arrest.
“Yes, he is here. That was very irresponsible of him,” the detective who cannot be named because of his rank told Capital FM News.
The attack occurred on Saturday morning when officers were ambushed while pursuing attackers who raided a village in Konton area, and kidnapped three Police Reservists.
But even after the arrest, the defiant blogger tweeted that “The issue here is not about @RobertAlai posting those photos, for me it’s about the risks we’re putting our officers in terror prone zones. We spent millions on armored cars which turns out to be substandard given how they’re always blown up. This is the real issue.”
Owino protested that some of the officers’ family members might have stumbled on the pictures, a thing, he said would be traumatic.
“The unfeeling act of posting pictures of our fallen heroes online by one blogger is very unfortunate and inhuman,” Owino asserted in the statement.
On Monday, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) issued a statement condemning Alai’s actions, and accused him of glorifying terrorism – crime it said it is punishable by law.
The commission said the actions had a potential of “causing despondency amongst the country’s armed forces as well as negatively affect the families of the victims and the unity of the country.”
And though Alai “has the freedom of expression” such publications, the commission said, “can be interpreted as propaganda for war which is not protected under the Constitution of Kenya.”
In a rejoinder, the blogger who has more than a million followers on Twitter said, “ I will continue to speak out for the poor police officers who are neglected, and their allowances taken by “wakubwa.” We must give our men and women who die wearing uniform, respect, dignity and honor they deserve. We shouldn’t treat our cops like dogs. I am angry!!”
His sentiments were supported by activist Boniface Mwangi, who questioned the manner the officers’ bodies were ferried.
“It is immoral and criminal for the government to transport bodies of dead officers like trash. There was no bodybags, not even bedsheets to cover their bodies. The question is, where are the 30 armoured vehicles President Uhuru Kenyatta posed with in 2017?” read his tweet.
But even with this, Owino said police are still committed to fight terrorism, which has claimed tens of police officers over the years and hundreds of civilian lives.