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February 16, 2019

Rights group blames police for disappearance of 46 persons

Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid speaks in Lamu on July 25.
Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid speaks in Lamu on July 25.

At least 46 people have mysteriously disappeared or died in the hands of police in the Coast since January, a human rights group claimed on Wednesday.

Haki Africa said 15 of the cases have been recorded in Lamu alone.

Executive director Hussein Khalid said the 15 could have been arrested and killed by Kenya Defence Forces in their pursuit of terrorists in the ongoing Linda Boni Operation. The anti-terrorist operation began

in 2015.

He said the disappearances began after the 2014 Mpeketoni attack in which al Shabaab militants killed more than 100 people.

“As Haki Africa, we are the voice of those who can’t speak for themselves. We want the government to tell us where these people are. We know some were taken by KDF and other state agencies,” Khalid said.

He called on Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and Inspector General Joseph Boinnet to explain the fate of the 46, saying police ought to have

protected them.

Khalid asked the government to speed up the construction of the wall between Kenya and Somalia to seal the porous border used by suspicious characters to enter the country.

He said it was easy for terrorists to sneak into Kenya through the border.

“That wall was supposed to have been up by now but its seems to have stalled. The government must complete it to ensure Kenya remains safe,” Khalid said.

The construction of the 700km security wall was suspended in March to quell tensions.

Mandera governor Ali Roba said the decision was reached at a consultative meeting with the Somali team led by Gedo governor Mohammed Mahamud.

“We have agreed to temporarily halt the construction and border securitisation pending the fate of about 64 houses that lie directly on the border,” Roba said. The houses had been marked for demolition.

Lamu remains the frontier for the fight against violent extremism, partly because if its proximity to Somalia.

Terrorists are believed to have hideouts in the county including the expansive Boni Forest.

In May, two people went missing in Tana River county with the Muslim for Human Rights claiming it was a case of forced disappearance.

There were 19 cases of people reported missing in the county since November 19 last year.

Their families said they suspected the victims were ‘taken away’ by KDF and KWS officers.

However, KWS senior warden John Wambua said the allegations against the wildlife agency were outrageous and do not make sense.

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