Kenya:At least seven fishermen feared shot dead off coast of Somalia
Laaska News Nov. 5 ,2011 War in Southern Somalia
by Joy Nabukewa
MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) — At least seven Kenyan fishermen are feared dead after they were shot at sea, after being mistaken to be either Al-Shabaab or pirates off the coast of Somalia.
Sources claimed on Friday that the fishermen from Mombasa were in a group of 11 during the Thursday dawn incident after they went to sea via Kiangoni route.
Family sources claimed they fishermen were attacked by Kenya Navy military personnel at Kiunga area near Ras Kamboni along the Somali border.
Two of the fishermen who dived into the water as they allegedly escaped from a hail of bullets, swam up to Kiunga, and while their colleague, who is said to have bullets lodged on his leg, has been taken to hospital.
Police sources confirmed that the two, who are now being treated as either Al-Shabaab accomplices or pirates, have been flown to Mombasa for further interrogation.
Kenya’s Military Spokesperson, Major Emmanuel Chirchir, said he was following up the matter and would issue a statement, after gathering all the facts.
Mombasa Criminal Investigations boss, Ambrose Munyasia, also said he was liaising with his officers in Lamu to establish the issue.
Beach Management Unit (BMU) officials from Ngomeni where the fishermen on board Nawal fishing vessel was spotted by the Navy personnel on its way back home from a ten-day fishing exhibition and after interrogation were allowed to dock until the following day to proceed with their journey.
Omar Mushamu, chairman of BMU Coast and Ngomeni said the fishermen issued all their permits and registration but turned against them in the morning.
According to one of their relatives, who is also a fisherman, Said Abdulrahman, the fishermen had their boat bombed despite alerting the Kenya Navy on patrol that they had drifted and had to anchor, as they waited for assistance. “Several of our relatives have died, yet they had sought for assistance and had been released but hours later, they (Navy) turned against them and fired at them,” Abdulrahman said.
Some of those identified to have been on the boat are Isaack Yusuf, Ajabala Mohammed, among others. Some of the relatives wailed and accused the government of not taking into account the plight of the fishermen.
The Lamu Council of Elders-Shungwaya, Vice-Chairman Mohammed Mbwana, blamed the government of not only cutting short the livelihoods of hundreds of fishermen in the area, following the ban but also causing a lot of security concerns in the area.
It was claimed by security officials, who maintained that the fishermen, will be treated as suspects.
Sources also indicated that the fishermen, had initially been rescued by a senior naval officer identified as, Asman Aboudh. “Most of them have children who were waiting for them to cove over for the celebrations, but it has turned out to be a very sad day,” Hassan Mohammed said.
Magarini District Commissioner Richard Karani confirmed that he was aware of the attack, adding that three had been arrested and the whereabouts of the other seven were still unknown.
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