alexa Police did not dig up any more bodies during search at 15 sites - Daily Nation

Police did not dig up any more bodies during search at 15 sites

Wednesday December 9 2015

Villagers dig up what was suspected to be another mass grave in Mandera County on December 8, 2015. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Villagers dig up what was suspected to be another mass grave in Mandera County on December 8, 2015. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ANGIRA ZADOCK
By ANGIRA ZADOCK
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A search party on Tuesday excavated 15 sites in Mandera County but did not find any more bodies, Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet said last night.

Present during the search was the Mandera County Security Committee, Governor Ali Roba, Senator Billow Kerrow, other leaders, journalists and human rights activists, Mr Boinnet said.

He added that the local leaders were unsatisfied and asked for a bulldozer to dig deeper.

On Sunday, herders stumbled on the body of a woman at Lathe, 45 kilometres from Mandera town.

Some 12 bodies were exhumed on Monday in the same area and, at the time, authorities said they suspected there would be more graves.

“We have visited the area said to be having a mass grave and we have established that apart from one grave in which a woman’s body was found, there are two other possible graves,” Mandera County Commissioner Frederick Shisia told the Nation.

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12 BODIES FOUND

Police threw a cordon around the site and said they were going to court to seek exhumation orders.

Police spokesman Charles Owino said on Monday that only one body had been identified though he was categorical that the victim was a woman.

He denied that security agents were involved in the deaths.

Local leaders had claimed that 25 bodies had been found but a police officer on the team investigating the mass grave told the Nation that only 12 bodies were found.

Tuesday, a court ordered that the body of the woman, identified as Ms Isnina Mohamed Sheikh, be exhumed for a postmortem and ordered that the other sites be dug up.

It was not clear on Tuesday where the other 11 bodies were.

Local leaders, at a press conference in Nairobi, on Monday accused the Kenya Defence Forces of executing terror suspects, a charge the military denied.

Communication problems in Mandera made it impossible to get news from the grave sites.

Neither local leaders such as Mandera Governor Roba and Senator Kerrow, nor the Nation reporter could be reached Tuesday afternoon and early evening.

MISSING PERSONS

But police records shed light on the series of events regarding missing persons in Mandera.

Reports seen by Nation showed that the brother of Ms Isnina Musa Sheikh, the only person so far identified, reported her abduction to officers at Mandera police station on December 4.

Ms Sheikh was the owner of a tea kiosk in Mandera. Her body was found by herders on Sunday.

According to police records, Mr Mohammed Abdulahi, reported on December 4 that his sister had been arrested the previous day at a place called Arabia stage at around 1pm by unknown people.

Two of them were wearing jungle uniform and were armed with rifles.

The matter was booked in the Occurrence Book.

The men, the entry says, took Ms Sheikh, whose age is given as 32, to a Toyota Probox and drove away with her to an unknown place.

After the report, the Mandera Police Station deputy OCS, Inspector Issac Mugoya, then sent a signal to all police station commanders in the country, giving the particulars of the missing person.

FRESH GRAVE

On Sunday December 6 at 2.20pm, Mr Feisal Issack, an MCA in Mandera town reported to the station that a fresh grave had been discovered along Omar Jillow/Arabia Road.

The matter was entered in the occurrence book as  OB22/6/12/2015.

Subsequently Scenes of Crime officers visited the scene where a shallow grave was found and upon opening it the body of a middle-aged woman was found. It had a fresh wound on the forehead.

The body was taken to the mortuary where it was identified by Mr Noor Abdi Mohammed, the deceased’s brother, as that of Ms Sheikh.

Police records also indicate that  the family of Mr Abukar Hussein Kulane alias “Abu Burkale” reported that he was abducted on November 10.

According to the family, he was taken by people claiming to be from Military Intelligence.

Family members gave the registration number of the car in which the abductors drove away in.

They also claimed that the vehicle was closely escorted by an armoured car. After picking him, they drove towards the military camp but he has not been seen since then.

The following day, November 11, the family members reported the matter at the police station where the report was booked as reference OB 24/11/11/2015.

Yesterday a team of detectives and human rights officials travelled to Mandera to join officers investigating the fresh graves in Lathe.

The number of bodies so far recovered remained unclear with both police and the local leaders giving conflicting numbers.

The team that flew there included officers from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) who will conduct their independent investigations, a source told Nation.

Mr Owino yesterday evening said that only one body, that of Ms Sheikh, had been identified.

Though Mr Owino admitted that several people had been reported missing, he said the exact number had not been established.