By Hussein Ahmed
Interior Cabinet Secretary Jospeph Nkaissery has taken issue with the local media for fueling unfounded rumors that more than 20 police officers were killed by Al-shabaab militants in an ambush in Yumbis lcoation, Garissa County.
While pro Al-shabaab media in Somalia reported many deaths, local media picked up the story without confirming angering the security boss as a result.
“Tell me exactly what you told Kenyans” Nkassery challenged journalists who sought the true information from him.
“I am disappointed with you, all of you, because you are reporting unconfirmed reports. Kenyans are apprehensive about this Al-shabaab thing and you guys should be at the forefront to ensure your country is safe” he added.
News of the many casualties spread fast sparking confusion in government circles with conflicting figures coming from different quarters.
The Presidential Strategic Communications Unit, posted a tweet reporting President Uhuru Kenyatta had sent a message of condolence to families of police officers killed in the attack.
It was however pulled down with Director of Digital Communications in the Office of the President Dennis Itumbi apologizing for the error.
Itumbi attributed the confusion to local media reports.
Inspector general of police Joseph Boinnet said in a statement that five officers were hurt while Garissa county commissioner James Kianda agreed with him.
Jarajila member of county assembly Mahat Osman put the figure at 8 injuries while speaking to the local media earlier today.
The militants on their side reported killing 25 officers saying they had a recording of the attack.
Their spokesman Sheikh Abu Musab told Reuters that they killed 5 officers in the land mine attack and 20 others in the ensuing gun battle.
“We took all their weapons. There were some Kenyan forces that escaped in the course of the ambush fighting,” he told Reuters.
Musab added that they burnt five police vehicles in the incident.
Al-shabaab has been roaming in Yumbis and nearby areas for the last one week. At one time, they took over a local mosque and lectured worshipers before retreating.
Kenyan security officials reported thwarting an attempted attack by the militants two days later.