News24

Top Kenyan judge makes gun threat - claim

2012-01-05 20:00

Nairobi - Kenyan police are investigating an accusation by a security guard that the deputy chief justice threatened her with a pistol during a security check at an upmarket shopping mall on New Year's eve, police said on Thursday.

Nancy Baraza, sworn into office in June, has a track record of pushing for legal reform. She and Chief Justice Willy Mutunga have promised to transform a judiciary widely seen as inefficient and corrupt.

"The investigations are being carried out into the claims by the security guard," Anthony Kibuchi, the Nairobi provincial police boss, said.

Baraza issued a statement saying she had received security threats since her appointment and that she was concerned for her safety. She did not discuss the incident in detail, citing the police investigation.

Security guard Rebecca Morara told local media Baraza refused to be screened at the entrance to the Village Market shopping mall. When asked to have her bag checked, Morara said Baraza resisted and threatened her with a pistol.

There is heightened security in public places in Kenya after threats by al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. Hand-held metal detectors are used in places where people gather, including shopping malls.

The rebels have threatened attacks in Kenya after the east African country sent its troops into Somalia to crush the rebel network it blamed for a spate of kidnappings and cross-border attacks.

"In the last few months a number of security incidents have occurred in and outside my office. As such, threats of violence have been directed at me and I have had to request increased security measures," Baraza said in her statement.

"The unfortunate incident at the Village Market should be viewed in light of the genuine security apprehension on my part. I certainly had no intention of high handedness, arrogance or ill will," she said.