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Mbithi: I did not cause delay in ending Garissa attack

20 April 2015, 08:22

Nairobi - The use of a police plane for a personal errand did not delay the deployment of the police tactical team which ended the extremist attack in Garissa where 148 people, the majority of them university students, were killed, a police official said in a statement.

Kenyans are demanding answers for why it took more than 12 hours to deploy members of the police counter-insurgency unit, the Recce Company, whose officers ended the April 2 siege at Garissa University College by four gunmen from Somalia's al-Shabaab extremist group.

Kenya Police Airwing Commander Rodgers Mbithi said in a statement to police investigators that his decision to allow his daughter-in- law and her children to be flown from Mombasa to Nairobi did not delay the movement of the Recce Company from Nairobi to Garissa.

The law permits him to allow his pilots to pick and fly his relatives and civilians, Mbithi said in his statement.

Also read: Boinett to sack officer who used police plane during Garissa attack

"The in-law family resides at the coast and I was only asking for a lift to Nairobi. The pilot has the discretion of refusing to carry any passenger. He agreed to fly them," he said.

A team of five officers has been appointed to investigate the police air wing over allegations that the unit failed to respond to the needs of the force during the attack.

Mbithi said the air wing has only three serviceable aircraft, including two planes and one small helicopter with capacity of four passengers.

On the day of the attack the helicopter had taken a police commander to northern Kenya and the plane had gone to Mombasa for a training exercise. By the time the flight departed Wilson airport at 7.26 am, the Recce had not been informed of any need to fly to Garissa.

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- AP


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