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Last Updated: Monday, 6 March 2006, 13:30 GMT
Police boss unaware of Kenya raid
Kenya's police chief Hussein Ali (Picture: East African Standard)
The police chief spoke after returning from the Seychelles
Kenya's police chief says he was not informed about raids on the Standard media group's offices last week.

Hussein Ali was out of the country when hooded policemen stormed its printing press and sister television station, shutting them down temporarily.

Speaking at the airport on his return, Maj-Gen Ali declined to go into further details saying he needed to be briefed.

President Mwai Kibaki has remained silent on the issue, despite calls from MPs for a statement from him.

Cabinet split

After attending mass on Sunday, the president broke his tradition of addressing people outside church and went straight to his limousine, the Standard newspaper reports.

I don't think I will be doing either myself a favour by giving you half-baked information
Hussein Ali
Kenya's police chief

The police action appears to have split his cabinet, with one group of influential ministers denouncing it as "barbaric".

The internal security minister said the raids, which have provoked national and international condemnation, were designed to protect state security.

"If you rattle a snake, you must be prepared to be bitten by it," John Michuki said.

Maj-Gen Ali told reporters on Sunday that he could not answer their questions on the early morning raids until he had been briefed.

"I don't think I will be doing either myself or yourselves a favour by giving you half-baked information on things that I am not even clear in my mind about and how they happened," Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper quotes him as saying.


During the raid, masked and armed police seized tapes, destroyed equipment and burnt thousands of copies of the Standard newspaper at their printing press.

Protesters marched from parliament to the Standard offices
Protests against the raids were held outside the Standard offices

A similar raid was carried out at the Kenya Television News (KTN) station.

The Standard - Kenya's oldest newspaper - has been critical of President Kibaki's handling of recent corruption scandals. The government has repeatedly accused the newspaper of fabricating stories.

The paper has threatened to sue the government over the raids.

It also alleges that four foreigners took part in the police operation, who the Standard believes are mercenaries from Ukraine, Bosnia or Russia.

Three Standard journalists, arrested before the raids over a story about President Kibaki, have been charged with publishing alarming statements and released on bail.

See the newspaper offices on fire


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