Kenyan police said on Thursday they had arrested the head of a regional maritime group for "alarming" statements about the hijack of a Ukrainian ship off Somalia and the destination of its military cargo.Interesting development.
The detention of Andrew Mwangura, whose East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme monitors shipping in the region and promotes sailors' rights, heightened controversy around the seizure of the MV Faina by Somali pirates a week ago.
Mwangura angered local authorities by saying the weaponry, which was en route to Mombasa, was ultimately bound for South Sudan and not Kenya as Nairobi insists. That has embarrassed Kenya which brokered an end to Sudan's north-south war in 2005.
Mwangura says his information comes from families of pirates and crew, plus shipping groups round the region and beyond. But Kenyan officials say he has fallen for pirates' propaganda.
"The information that my client has been receiving has been coming from officials of the same union (seafarers programme) both in Ukraine and Russia," said his lawyer, Francis Kadima.
"My client has a right to free expression."
The U.S. navy said this week that it believed the arms were for South Sudan, and many Kenyans share that suspicion.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
The International Herald Tribune reports that Kenya has arrested the frequent "voice" on matters of Somali pirates here: