State maintains Al-Shabaab stole BVR kits in Mandera

From left: Mandera AP Commander Suleiman Rashid, Mandera East Deputy County Commissioner David Mbevi and County Police Commander Bernard Nyakwaka on February 8, 2017. The officers maintained that Al-Shabaab stole BVR kits during an attack at Arabia AP camp. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Mr Mbevi termed the group’s statement as an attempt to enter into local politics.
  • He said the terrorists also took a police vehicle, a motorcycle, three firearms and ammunition.
  • He added that concerted efforts are underway to recover the items stolen from the camp.

The government has maintained that Al-Shabaab militants who attacked an AP camp in Arabia, Mandera, last week stole three biometric voter registration (BVR) kits.

Mandera East Deputy County Commissioner David Mbevi said reports by the group denying the theft are a diversionary tactic.

“The statement from Al-Shabaab is a diversionary tactic. The truth is that three BVR kits were stolen but no data was lost,” he said.

He said investigations indicated the terrorists took the kits and a police vehicle, a motorcycle, three firearms, ammunition and personal items of the officers at the Arabia camp.

Mr Mbevi described the group’s statement as an attempt to enter into local politics by suggesting that a certain political wing planned to infiltrate the system.

“They are trying to play politics with their insiders from within to suggest that the BVRs are to be used by other parties for ulterior motives but that is not the case,” he said.

STILL PURSUING STOLEN ITEMS

In a statement posted on their website on Sunday, the terrorists termed Kenya’s claims as propaganda.

However, Mr Mbevi said concerted efforts were under way to recover the items stolen from the camp that was flattened by the Somalia-based jihadists.

“We are following up [on] everything we lost at the camp with our networks searching for the items inside Somalia and [in Kenya],” he said.

He denied claims that the lost BVR kits are being used by a political faction to illegally register voters in Banisa Constituency in Mandera.

“What was happening at Banisa was registration of Jubilee Party members and not voters’ registration as claimed, but we have handled the situation accordingly,” he said.

Mr Mbevi said social media users were creating unnecessary anxiety over the lost kits, adding that the State has launched a crackdown that has nabbed three suspects.

“We already have three culprits to be charged with misusing social media and we warn the rest against such an offence,” he said.

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