Are These Images of KDF Soldiers Deployed to Mandera?

A tweep* shared a post with claims touching on the recent Somalia clashes and the involvement of Janaan and the Kenya Defence Forces. The post was accompanied by images purported to be of the KDF soldiers deployed to Mandera to keep the peace.

Background

Somali troops, reported to have been camping in Bula Hawa planning a raid to capture a fugitive Jubaland minister said to be hiding in Mandera town, clashed with a regional militia leading to an outbreak of heavy gunfire and explosions. This caused tension in the neighbouring Mandera town of Kenya due to fears of the clashes spilling over.

The said fugitive, Jubaland Security Minister, Abdirashid Hassan Abdinur also known as Abdirashid Janan, escaped from a Mogadishu prison on January 28th 2020 where he had been held since August 31st, 2019.

According to Amnesty International, the United Nations Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) accused Janan of serious human rights violations in their 2016 and 2017 reports, and of “conduct constituting obstruction of humanitarian assistance” between 2014 and 2017.

The post also mentions Somalia National Army (SNA), which is the military force of Somalia officially known as the Federal Republic of Somalia.

Verification

The post was accompanied by three images of soldiers who are supposedly from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and we were able to verify two of them.

The first image is that of soldiers who appear to be in distress. A quick image search shows that the image first appeared online on January 27th, 2016. It was taken during a memorial service held in honour of KDF soldiers killed in southwest Somalia’s El-Adde region by Al-Shabaab militias.

A search of the image of the dead bodies lying on the ground first appeared online on the 5th of July 2017 in this report. The headline reads “Maleeshiyaad Shabaab ah oo duleedka Kismaayo lagu Xasuuqay (SAWIRRO)” which translates to “Somalia: Al-Shabaab Militants Killed Outside of Kismayo.”

Kenya’s National Police Service has since denied claims of attacks in Mandera town.

There is no official communication on Janan’s exact location or KDF presence in the said areas.

Verdict

Two of the images used in the post are not of KDF soldiers in Mandera and the claims, as circulated via social media, are FALSE.

 

*Tweep: Twitter user

 

Additional input from Mohamed Eltayeb

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Peris Gachahi

Peris Gachahi is a reporter at Africa Uncensored.She is passionate about human interest stories told through in-depth documentaries, data stories and digital storytelling.