Man charged with murder over Mpeketoni killings.

Man charged with murder over Mpeketoni killings.

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A man was on Wednesday charged before a Mombasa court with 12 counts of murder allegedly committed during the attacks in Mpeketoni, Lamu County, last month which claimed over 60 lives.

Dyana Salim Suleiman denied all the charges which he was said to have committed together with others who were not before court.

Government said 65 people were killed in deadly attacks in Mpeketoni where assailants attacked house after house, flushed out all men and either shot or hacked them to death, the worst killings since last September’s al shabaab raid on Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi where 67 people were killed.

Attackers also burnt down houses, businesses and vehicles, in what experts reasoned might have been an attempt to render the locals economically incapacitated.

The al shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but President Uhuru Kenyatta refuted and instead blamed the killings on local political networks.

Lamu governor Issa Timamy was arrested last week over the attacks, but was released on bail on Monday as prosecutors said they intended to charge him with murder, forceful transfer of populations and terrorism related charges, crimes he denies involvement in.

On Thursday state lawyer Alexander Muteti asked the court to deny Suleiman bail arguing that the magnitude of the charges he faced was serious and that the accused might be tempted to escape.

Muteti also said they were contemplating charging the accused with more counts of murder.

But defense lawyer John Khaminwa objected to his client’s detention saying he was a Kenyan who lived within the country, and would therefore not escape.

“It is a constitutional right to any accused person before the law to be granted bail or a bond and the accused is no exception,” Khaminwa told the court.

He also said his client was diabetic and a doctor’s report indicated that he was on special diet and therefore needed close attention from his family, adding that locking him in would be putting his life at risk.

Presiding judge Edward Muriithi directed that the accused be held at the Malindi police station which is closer to his family, and be allowed to access medical attention and meet close members of his family.

The judge will rule on the accused’s bail application on Monday.