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No Mass Graves Found, Says Kenya Interior Minister

Kenya's interior minister says reports of an alleged mass grave discovered in northeastern Kenya earlier this week are false.

Speaking to reporters in Nairobi Wednesday, Kenya’s Interior Minister Joseph Nkaisserry said there is no mass grave in Mandera county near the Somali border.

On Tuesday, government security agencies accompanied by the local leaders went to the area and excavated 15 sites.

"I wish to inform the country and the world at large that nothing was found in any of those sites. Today, following insistence by the political leaders that people might have been buried deep in the ground, excavators were brought in the site to dig for the bodies and nothing was found," said Nkaisserry.

The interior minister said a shallow grave was found that contained a woman's body but said they don't know how she died.

“She is alleged to have been a cook for al-Shabab in Bula Hawa, and when al-Shabab was overrun, were uprooted out of Bula Hawa, she fled to Kenya, Mandera and she started working in a kiosk selling tea," he said.

The reports of the alleged mass grave had once again raised concerns about extrajudicial killings. Human rights organizations have accused security agencies of killing and "disappearing" terror suspects as they hunt Al-Shabab, something that security agencies deny.

The state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) said in April it had found mass graves that contained 11 people in Wajir county, also in the northeast.

The interior ministry has called on leaders from Mandera County who alleged the existence of mass graves this week to issue an apology.