Al Jazeera ‘biased’, says Israeli ambassador Shalom Cohen

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ShalomCohen.JPGThe government of Israel says it will not comment on the allegations carried in a documentary by Al Jazeera last Monday because “it was biased”.

Shalom Cohen, Israel’s Ambassador in Nairobi, on Thursday refused to clarify claims made in the film that Israeli agents were training Kenyan death squads targeting terror suspects.

“I don’t want to comment on a press issue such as that Al Jazeera declaration because Al Jazeera, clearly, are biased.

“Whenever they get to say something against Israelis, they will do it. I don’t see any reason why I have to comment on that. Their position is quite clear, which is to be anti-Israel,” Mr Cohen told journalists in Nairobi.

Specifically, Israel is said to aid in training of “elimination” methods.

The film, “Inside Kenya’s Death Squads”, was aired by Al Jazeera and features confessions from people claiming to be from the counter-terrorism police units.

They officers admit that they shot dead a number of Muslim clerics thought to be radical because they had received orders from the National Security Council.

Some of the clerics include Sheikh Aboud Rogo, Sheikh Mohammed Idris and Sheikh Abubakar Shariff Ahmed aka Makaburi. They were killed by unknown gunmen.

Others have either been disappeared or killed the same way.

None of the executioners have been brought to justice.

In the case of Sheikh Aboud Rogo, a taskforce formed to investigate his murder returned no suspects and instead blamed the police for compromising the crime scene, and witnesses for refusing to testify.

But the government argues investigations are still ongoing.

Kenyan authorities initially accused Al Jazeera of airing a “one-sided” story. The network denied the charge instead challenging the government to “to confront the serious allegations that its agents commit extra-judicial killings.”

STRONG COLLABORATION

On Thursday, the Israeli diplomat was fielding questions in Nairobi on areas of cooperation between Kenya and his country. Agriculture, security and tourism featured prominently. Mr Cohen said Israel was keen on boosting relations with Kenya.

The ambassador admitted there is strong collaboration with Kenya to fight terrorism but still refused to elaborate.

“The willingness to invest in security is a problem for the entire civilised and modern world. We think that we can tackle security issues together and have the good answers to that.

“How we do it and with whom we are talking and how much specifically, you can understand that I cannot go beyond that… but I am telling you that the Kenyan security provocations are very much part of Israel provocations as well.

“We want Kenya to tackle the new challenges of security and we will help Kenya to do it as much as we are asked and as much as it is possible. We work with Kenyan security authorities.

“Answering the security problem is not only militarily. Nowadays it is much more sophisticated. We are working, without going into specifics, on that as well,” he said.

-nation.co.ke

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