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Government turns heat on Mandera leaders over “graves” says slain woman was a cook for al-Shabaab

By Cyrus Ombati | December 10th 2015 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

The government turned the heat on Mandera leaders over claims of mass graves in the area and ordered them to be questioned by police.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery Wednesday also told the leaders led by senator Billow Kerrow to apologise and retract the claims they made.

He at the same time revealed the deceased woman whose body was exhumed from a shallow grave in Arabia area was a cook for Al-Shabaab militants.

Nkaissery also said some journalists are being used to spread terror related messages as he asked everyone to be accountable for their utterances.

“I therefore demand that any leader that made sensational statements and allegation about the existence of mass graves retract in full and apologise to the nation for their alarmist statements. I equally call on the appropriate security agencies to hold to account anyone who may have broken the law in this regard,” said Nkaissery.

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The minister was reacting to Monday’s claims by the Mandera leaders that there had been mass graves that were discovered in the area and that security agencies were behind the killings.

Nkaissery said after two days’ search, they only found the body of Ms Isnino Mohammed Sheikh who he added has been a sympathiser of the terror group Al-Shabaab.

“She acted as a cook for Al Shabaab militias during their reign in Bullahawa in 2008. Following the flushing out of the militias from Bullahawa by Ethiopian troops she came back to Mandera to work at her food kiosk,” he said.

He said a group of local security chiefs and human rights organisations used excavators for the second day at a site where the said bodies were but they did not find any.

“Following insistence by the political leaders that people may have buried deep in the ground, excavators were brought in to search all the sites and equally yielded nothing. No bodies were found.”

He accused some leaders in the area of having held a meeting in which they agreed to launch propaganda about government engaging in extra judicial killings of Kenyans.

“As we continue to degrade the capabilities of Al-Shabaab and as our security forces make significant gains in preventing and aborting plans to attack this country, these groups continue their unabated accusations against the security forces,” he said.

He also denied claims there were mass graves that had been found in Wajir as claimed by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

Nkaissery was accompanied by Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and outgoing interior Principal Secretary  Monica Juma.

On the slain woman, Nkaissery said police investigations had established that Isnino lived in Bulla Jamhuria location within Mandera town.

“She is from Rahwein(Hathama) clan and she formerly operated a food kiosk near Metameta street before transferring it next to a mosque near Rhamu stage,” he said.

He added she was a widow but recently married by unknown person who lives in Baidoa town in Somalia within Baay region.

The CS said the woman is known to have facilitated  the transportation of Al-shabaab operatives from Mandera to Wajir, Garissa and Nairobi.

He said they suspect she was killed by one of the warring factions of the terror group after they split with one supporting ISIS and the other Al-Qaeda.

“Police suspect she was abducted by one of the warring factions and killed by being bludgeoned. The matter is under investigation to get the killers.”

The victim was a trader in Mandera town and was said to have gone missing last Thursday before the body was discovered.

Police swore an affidavit saying they needed orders to exhume the body and carry out investigations to ascertain their identities and cause of death.

Police said they were alerted by members of public about a body of a woman within Omar Jillo before it was exhumed.

Local politicians led by Kerrow led the operation ready for the exhumation. Officials from Independent Medico-Legal Unit and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights were also present.

mass graves Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery insecurity
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