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Kenya Journalists Warned On Westgate

by 24/10/2013 14:10:00 0 comments 1516 Views

Kenya's police chief has warned journalists over their coverage of last month's attack on the Westgate shopping centre, following reports of looting by soldiers.

David Kimaiyo said reporters should not "provoke propaganda" or "incite Kenyans" in their coverage.

CCTV footage has been leaked on local media which appears to show soldiers taking items from a supermarket.

The army has said the soldiers were only taking water during the siege.

At least 67 people, including six members of the security forces, were killed after Islamist militants stormed one of Nairobi's biggest shopping centres, staying there for four days.

Somalia's al-Shabab group has said it was behind the attack.

As well as the looting, local media have also reported that some members of the security forces were killed by friendly fire during the siege, raising concerns about the command structure.

'Hate speech'

Mr Kimaiyo said two investigative journalists from KTN, a private Kenyan television station operated by the Standard Group, were among those threatened with arrest.

"We are looking within the law very closely for those individuals who in one way or another might have committed crimes," the police chief told journalists in the capital, Nairobi, on Wednesday.

They would soon "be apprehended and appear before the court, and face the consequences of this", he said.

Mr Kimaiyo said that journalists should not "issue statements that can amount to hate speech" or statements that "could affect the life of another person".

Atul Shah, the head of Nakumatt, the supermarket which was allegedly looted, was summoned by police investigating how the CCTV footage had appeared in local media, Kenya's Standard newspaper reports.

Regarding concerns over which security agency was in command of the rescue operation at Westgate, Mr Kimaiyo said that as head of the police, he had been consulted.

"It was a joint effort, and we clearly agreed on how to conduct it," Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper quotes him as saying.

He said the police were now considering arming more civilians to help with community policing.

"A cursory glance at the Westgate siege confirms that armed terrorists with high calibre weapons will inflict unprecedented damage if [the] majority of shoppers are armed only with a cell phone and car keys," Mr Kimaiyo said.

During the press conference he also said that police were now holding eight suspects who would soon be charged in court.

He did not give their names or explain their alleged role in the attack.

Officials initially said 10 to 15 gunmen were involved, but CCTV footage appears to show only four militants, who the Kenyan military say all died by the end of the siege.

The BBC's Newsnight programme has revealed that one of the four attackers is suspected of being a 23-year-old Somalia-born Norwegian national, Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow.


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