By Hussein Ahmed:
A section of leaders from North Eastern linked the Kenya Defense Forces to extrajudicial killings after 25 bodies were discovered in shallow graves in Mandera County on Sunday.
Led by Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow, the more than ten lawmakers who held a press briefing at Parliament buildings on Monday said they had evidence linking the army to enforced disappearances in the region.
“We even know the individual KDF members involved in the kidnapping, disappearance and killing of our people, and we will stop at nothing short of individual accountability,” said Senator Billow Kerrow.
Kerrow termed the killings crimes against humanity and added local leaders would seek the assistance of the UN Rapporteur for Human Rights or the International Criminal Court to investigate the matter.
But in a quick rejoinder, KDF has denied any involvement in the disappearance of people or extrajudicial killings in Mandera or anywhere else in the country.
“The Ministry of Defence wishes to categorically state that KDF is not involved in any way with the mass grave discovered in Mandera. KDF is not involved in any way with the disappearance of people or extrajudicial killings in Mandera or anywhere else in the country,” said KDF spokesman Colonel David Obonyo.
Obonyo challenged those with information of KDF’s involvement in the mass grave to bring it forth to the relevant authorities for further probe, adding that it is ready and willing to cooperate with any authorised institution or body investigating the allegations.
“KDF will institute an independent body of inquiry to investigate the matter to its full conclusion,” said Obonyo.
The discovery follows a similar one in Wajir earlier this year. In May, eleven bodies were found buried in shallow graves at Lanbib, Wajir County.
North Eastern leaders are scheduled to travel to Mandera on Tuesday with a team from human right organizations and other stakeholders.