After the dust settling in Mpeketoni, Kenyans are asking more questions that have gone unanswered. “Who was behind the heinous killings of Mpeketoni residents?”, “What was the motivation behind the killings?” these are some of the questions that even the Kenyan security chiefs have failed to provide to Kenyans. This situation is as flagrant as to be humorous to an extent that Kenyans are going out of their ways to develop theories that could complete this security jigsaw puzzle. Out of the scattered information that I gathered both from the media and the witnesses on the ground, I came up with three theories that will assist us in unmasking the hooded killers of Mpeketoni. After going through the three theories, it will be up to you to decipher who the hooded killers were.
The Al Shabaab theory is the most glaring one to start with. According to kenyanews247.com, The Al-Shabaab militia claimed responsibility for the attacks which left at least 60 people. In an audio clip aired on the pro-Al Shabaab radio Al Andulus that could not independently be verified, the group said that its Mujaheeden had carried out the attacks in Kenya even as President Uhuru Kenyatta averred that the attack was political. It is also evident that Al Shabaab has never claimed responsibility of an attack that it has never done. BBC.com also concurred with this theory when it reported that Al Shabaab was behind the attacks, in revenge for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and the killing of Muslims.
An interview with one of the eye witnesses who is a close friend of mine adds credence to this theory. He said that the attackers separated Muslims from non Muslims by asking the hostages few questions about Islam. Those who failed to answer were executed. Many other eye witnesses concurred with what my friend said.
The second theory states that the attack was politically motivated by CORD. It went down on record that immediately after the attack, the President pointed his finger directly, even without mentioning names, at opposition leader Raila Odinga. The attacks were “well planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence against a Kenyan community, with the intention of profiling and evicting them for political reasons,” President Kenyatta said in a national address on 17th June, 2014. “This therefore was not an al-Shabab attack,” he continued. “Evidence indicates that local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of a heinous crime“. I presume that the president was briefed by the intelligence agency before his address.
The form of attacks also adds water to this theory. Al Shabaab usually attacks a place and kills people indiscriminately. They don’t care whether you are a kid, a woman or a man. The Mpeketoni attack was unique; they singled out women and kids and killed men only. Because of this form of attack, many people rule out Al Shabaab. Al shabaab has also been attacking major towns. Can this be the only instance that Al shabaab is attacking a village?
According to BBC, there are long-standing political and ethnic divisions in Mpeketoni, and the president. Local ethnic Somalis or Oromos may have targeted members of the president’s Kikuyu community and tried to divert the blame by waving al-Shabab flags. Some locals see the Kikuyus as interlopers, who have become rich after the government gave them land during Jomo Kenyatta’s reign. These are the same feelings which lay behind the deadly ethnic violence which swept the nation after the disputed 2007 elections. Therefore CORD might have taken advantage of this situation to sponsor an attack.
The attack was politically motivated by the government, forms the third theory. According to Macharia Gaitho’s article in the 17th June Daily Nation, in the run-up to Mr Odinga’s much-hyped return from the US at the end of May, Jubilee social media activists went into overdrive on Twitter and Facebook in what looked like a coordinated offensive to depict the Kikuyu under attack. Again, links were made to Mr Odinga’s fabled penchant for demonstrations, possibly violent, and the western-sponsored ‘Arab Spring’ that ousted governments across North Africa – Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Not a single shred of proof was offered for the growing narrative linking Mr Odinga to terrorist attacks, an anti-Kikuyu offensive and western-backed push against the Uhuru-Ruto regime, but the Jubilee heartland eagerly lapped up the propaganda.
By the time the Mpeketoni attack came about, it was almost as if to confirm the prevailing narrative about a domestic anti-Kikuyu plot. President Kenyatta’s statement now reinforces Jubilee’s social media activism and political rhetoric and elevates it to the official government position on a key national security issue. To some, this looks like a clear script written by the government to paint CORD in bad light. If that is not the case, why did the president rush to make a conclusive statement on the issue even before investigations started? We are also told that the police were given prior intelligence report about the attack. Why didn’t they act on it? Lastly, there was a consecutive attack the day after the main attack. Which CORD or Al-shabaab attacker will brazenly do this well aware that all security agencies were converging at Mpeketoni after the main attack? After sieving through these theories, the onus is on you the reader to settle on the theory that holds more water.