Nairobi, Kenya — Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi has granted clemency to some 400 Air Force men and 61 students arrested after a coup attempt last August. The action is being hailed here as a statesmanlike act of mercy, Monitor contributor John Worrall reports. Some say the President may have decided a massive roundup of suspects and convictions of some 900 airmen - some sentenced to death for treason - was sufficient warning to opponents. A few have suggested President Moi's amnesty may be a sign of weakness, but the national press uniformly applauded.
The Kenyan Army blocked the Aug. 1 coup,0which was staged by young Air force mutineers aided by students. It was without bloodshed. Some 2,000 men - nearly the whole Kenyan Air Force - were rounded up and submitted to intensive screening to determine their involvement. Most of those involved were privates and junior noncommissioned officers. Maj. Gen. Peter Kariuki, the former Air Force commander, was jailed for four years for failing to prevent the mutiny.
Although the amnesty helps close the door on this revolt, Nairobi is rocking with rumors about a new coup attempt. President Moi this week warned that he would not tolerate this. He said Kenyans who spread rumors that the nation is unstable face immediate arrest.