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Kenya Defence Forces soldiers shoot dead two people in Mandera

By Adow Jubat | December 29th 2015
Mandera Governor Ali Roba addressing the media on the extend of the insecurity in Mandera. ON 16/03/15 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

Two people were allegedly killed and three others injured by Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers in Mandera town yesterday.

The two were allegedly shot by the officers after their vehicle blocked the oncoming military car, prompting the soldiers to shoot at the occupants of the taxi.

Confirming the incident, the Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia said the military shot at the occupants after allegedly clogging their way at a road junction within the town. In the past, military officers have been killed in the town by assailants using taxi cabs.

"Preliminary investigations show the civilian vehicle blocked the military van and KDF sensed danger, hence opening fire. Three people were injured, including a lady who was hit by stray bullets," Mr Shisia said.

The 10.45am incident happened at the junction of Hills View Hotel and 'Soko Miraa' a place with relatively high flow of traffic.

Late last month, Isnina Mohamed Sheikh was killed by unknown assailants after she was picked from her hotel by people yet to be identified and who were using a white Toyota Probox taxi.

Her body was exhumed 45km away after herders stumbled on a shallow grave, prompting police to excavate it.

Locals blamed the military for the killing. The local political leadership has blamed the disappearance of many youths from the region on the military.

"The tragedy with our security officers is that they are trained on how not to take liability for the crimes they commit inadvertently or not, but the fact is that the two are innocent and widely known in the town and they were going about their business at the time of their death," said a witness who sought anonymity for fear of victimisation.

"It could be possible the soldiers shot at them in panic considering recurrent attacks targeting them as the taxi driver delayed in reverse to give way to the military vehicle," the witness added.

The killing sparked a protest, with demonstrators lighting bonfires along the Mandera-Nairobi road.

A statement by the Mandera County Commissioner stated preliminary investigations indicated that the taxi was carrying explosives. But the statement angered residents who accused the official of attempting to cover up "murder".

Mandera Governor Ali Roba said the Government was quick to associate the two with criminality by insinuating that the car could have been carrying explosives.

Mr Roba, who was among the people who were first to visit the scene of the killing, said: "I am not a forensic or ballistics expert, but as the first people to visit the scene there was no indication that an explosion has occurred in the place."

He added: "We demand for independent investigations into the circumstances that led to the killing of the two people and injuring of three others."

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