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Military denies torching Garissa town

Thursday November 22 2012

By NATION REPORTERS

The Kenya Defence Forces has dismissed reports accusing them of criminal activities during an operation in Garissa town.

The operation followed the killing of three soldiers shot by unknown assailants at a tyre repair point in the town on Monday. (READ: Garissa erupts in violence after soldiers’ killing)

KDF’s information operations officer Colonel Cyrus Oguna on Wednesday termed the media reports that the military had raped, tortured, looted, killed women and children and burnt business and residential property as malicious and lies crafted to taint the credibility of KDF.

“Allegations suggesting KDF committed atrocities in Garissa are false and must cease,” he said. The three soldiers were shot dead in the company of two colleagues.

The two, Col Oguna said, did not fight back to avoid collateral damage since people had started scampering for safety, following the gunshots.

“After the incident was reported at the camp, a platoon was dispatched to secure the vehicle and bodies of the fallen soldiers,” said the officer.

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Immediately, locals informed the soldiers that the assailants had fled to Bula Mzuri village and a joint operation by the Kenya Police and KDF was launched.

“The KDF surrounded the village while the police carried out the actual search. The search recovered a communication device,” he said, noting that the exercise was called off at 4.30pm.

Col Oguna said riots erupted in the town after the three soldiers were killed and police had to fire teargas canisters to disperse them.

The following morning, attackers fired at the Garissa military camp but the soldiers said they did not return fire but moved to secure the camp and the airstrip.