MANDERA, Kenya – Officials in the Kenyan county of Mandera accused the military Tuesday of executing five missing people whose bodies were found in a shallow grave.
Speaking at the burial of the five, whose bodies were discovered Monday, Mandera Deputy Gov. Omar Maalim alleged that government agencies were responsible for the deaths as part of a crackdown on extremism.
"All this is being done by the Kenya Defence Forces, because we have information that these five people were picked from their houses by the military before being held briefly at the Fino police station," he said.
Maalim said Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia had confirmed to him in a phone call that the five were among 11 people arrested Friday night. He added that there is a high rate of mysterious murders in the county.
Kenyan security officials could not be reached for comment on the allegations.
The country's security forces have long been accused of killing suspected extremists because they are unable to investigate them and get them prosecuted successfully. The Independent Police Oversight Authority says 60 percent of criminal cases go unsolved.
Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants have carried out attacks in Kenya since 2011 as revenge for the deployment of Kenyan troops to Somalia to fight the group. Mandera County, which borders Somalia, has been the hardest hit by the recent wave of al-Shabab attacks.
Mandera East MP Abdulaziz Farah, whose aunt was among the five dead, condemned the incident.
"The RDU (Rapid Deployment Unit) and the KDF (Kenya Defence Forces) raided Fino center and arrested about 11 people but released those who could pay for their release and decided to murder these five," he alleged.
Hassan Osman, a candidate for the county's senatorial seat, demanded action against those involved.
"We have suffered enough in Mandera, because at night we are running away from al-Shabab and during the day we hide away from security agents," Osaman said. "We need answers as to where shall we find peace."