Military apologises over old ‘spy’ pictures

Military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir has apologised for posting old photographs depicting a Kenyan Al-Shabaab convert being stoned to death by the militants on Tuesday.

Major Chirchir took responsibility for posting pictures taken in 2009 on social media but maintained that Al-Shabaab had executed a Kenyan in Kismayu for allegedly spying for the Kenya Defence Forces. (READ: Al-Shabaab executes ‘Kenyan spy’)

“We take responsibility for the pictures which were taken by AP in the past. But it is true that a Kenyan was stoned to death in Kismayu on Tuesday, that is a fact,” he stated.

“I hear you, I take responsibility,” the military spokesman wrote on Twitter after an American journalist pointed out that the photographs he had posted had been taken in 2009.

The pictures showed a man buried to his chest in the ground being stoned to death by masked men after which they removed his body from the ground.

The military spokesman had claimed that the man was from Nairobi’s Majengo slums.

But Mukhtar Ibrahim, a Somali-American journalist based in Minnesota, revealed that the pictures had been taken by Associated press in 2009.

He added that the group responsible for the stoning was Hizbul Islam and not Al-Shabaab, way before the two militant groups merged in December 2010.

Al-Shabaab also dismissed the pictures, branding them a poor propaganda piece by the Kenya military.

“They seem unsophisticated, even in their propaganda campaign. A simple Google search would have saved them such an embarrassment,” Al-Shabaab wrote on Twitter.

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