Survivors claim Asians called the shots in Gamba, Hindi killings

Survivors claim Asians called the shots in Gamba, Hindi killings
Residents of Hindi in Lamu County protest over rampant insecurity in the region yesterday. [Photo: Maarufu Mohamed/Standard]
Horrifying details have emerged over Saturday's twin attacks in Lamu and Tana River counties in which 21 people were killed, with survivors claiming Asian men led the assault.

One of the alleged Asians, now known in these parts as the "White Beast", even offered medicine to a female hostage as he plotted to kill her husband, according to witness accounts. They also claimed killers undressed children to ascertain their sex before killing the boys with glee.

And unlike in past attacks, the attackers reportedly made no effort to conceal their faces. In Gamba, the killers were of Middle East descent, ethnic Somali and also coastal Kenyans, survivors said.

Yet in the Gamba attack, Muslims and Mijikendas were also killed while some Christians were spared in patterns that have defied tribal and religious logic. Witnesses in both Hindi and Gamba claimed two Asians gave the orders to tie up captives and slit their throats and in some cases decapitated the victims themselves.

At Gamba Police Station in Tana River, an alleged Asian commander yanked a mobile phone from a woman he had spared. He used it to call her son who was hiding in the nearby bushes and also to communicate with police.

In both attacks, as in last month's massacre in Mpeketoni, the attackers targeted men and boys.

"They used my mother's phone. In fact, I called my mother from the bush and one of them, who my mother later told me was an Arab man, answered and said my mother and my wife were okay but they were looking for me," said 37-year-old Joseph Odipo.

Mr Odipo's mother, Elizabeth Indimuli, is a village elder and Lamu County Commissioner Miiri Njenga said he was aware of her ordeal at the hands of the attackers.

Captors quarrel

Odipo said several police officers and top Government agencies in Lamu called his mother and the assailant answered them but "they did not do anything despite the fact that the attackers stayed in the house for over one-and-a-half hours".

Tuesday, the county commissioner said: "I'm aware of what happened at Mama Odipo's house and I must say as security agents we failed otherwise we could have arrested these killers while they were there."

Mr Njenga also said the police delay in taking action was because most senior officers were new to the area - they were transferred there less than three weeks ago.

Odipo's wife said the attackers had medicine and food and the "White Beast" offered her painkillers and water after she complained of a stomachache.

"According to my wife, the Arab man was very friendly to them but he became visibly angry whenever he captured a man," said Odipo.

Ali Mohamed, a witness in Hindi, claimed he saw an Arab man with a long beard and long hair, and that he was the one who killed victims with a knife once they were tied up.

He claimed the man wore military clothes and spoke fluent Kiswahili and English.

Mohamed said he was captured and led to the bush for slaughter but managed to untie himself and bolt to freedom when his captors quarrelled.

He said the captors started quarreling after his friend, who was later killed, asked the attackers why they were claiming to be religious yet they were killing people.

In Gamba, the driver of the truck hijacked by the gang and used in the police station raid claimed that two Arab men stood over dazed captives and ordered that he should not be killed.

"There were two (Arabs) and young men of Somali origin and youths from other tribes, especially Mijikenda," claimed Shara Hassan, the truck driver.

terror attacks Gamba Hindi