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Kenya Navy sinks boat believed to be carrying rebels

Friday November 4 2011

By PETER LEFTIE [email protected]

The Kenya Navy on Friday sunk another boat suspected of transporting Al-Shabaab militants.

Military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the boat was speeding towards Kenyan waters from the direction of Ras Kamboni when its crew was ordered to stop but defied the orders.

“On 4th November 2011 at 0200hrs, the Kenya Navy, while on patrol duties, sank a boat in the area of Ras Kamboni.

“The boat was challenged to stop for identification but continued to approach the Kenya Navy at high speed, and consequently they fired on it,” said Maj Chirchir in a statement.

It was the second boat the Kenya Navy has sunk in two days following Tuesday’s incident when Kenyan troops killed 18 Al-Shabaab militants after sinking a ship transporting fuel in Kuday area inside Somalia waters. (READ: Al-Shabaab militants fall back to defend Kismayu)

On Friday, Kenyan fishermen in Magarini district, Kilifi county claimed that among those killed during the Kuday incident were eight of their colleagues.

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The chairman of the Ngomeni Beach Management Unit, Mr Omar Mushamu, claimed that three fishermen from Ngomeni who were on the boat managed to swim to safety after diving into the ocean.

Mr Mushamu said that the eight who perished were harmless Kenyans going about their normal business activities.

He claimed that Navy officers sank the fishermen’s boat after they had surrendered and identified themselves.

“The fishermen were not armed and had even identified themselves to the officers as fishermen, who still bombed the vessel,” Mr Mushamu complained.

Magarini District Commissioner Richard Karani confirmed that the three survivors were from Ngomeni and said investigations had been launched into the incident.

Malindi deputy police boss Samson Ogero also confirmed getting reports on the incident but said he had not received any details from the officers he had dispatched to Ngomeni.

In his statement on Friday, Maj Chirchir warned that the Kenya- Somalia waters remained closed to maritime operations.

“We believe that some of the militants on board swam to shore. We wish to urge the public to be cautious of people seeking treatment for bullet wounds and to report any suspicious persons to the nearest police station or security agency,” he advised.

Maj Chirchir also warned merchant ships operating in the Indian Ocean against helping Al-Shabaab militants to flee to Yemen.

“KDF has confirmed that foreign fighters have re-grouped in the towns of Barawe and Marka in Somalia with the intention of fleeing to Yemen.

“We therefore warn any merchant ship operating in this sea lane to be cautious,” read the statament.