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Kenya setting up new Air Force

President Daniel arap Moi formally disbanded the Kenya Air Force, most of whose personnel have been in custody since they launched an abortive coup against Kenya's pro-Western government Aug. 1. A new air force is to be set up under a new commander, Maj. Gen. Mahamoud Muhammad, reports Monitor contributor John Worrall.

General Muhammad is the deputy commander of the Kenya Army and was responsible for mounting the Army attack that crushed the rebellion by airmen in Nairobi and elsewhere.

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In the government statement announcing the new Air Force, the fate of the former Air Force commander, Maj. Gen. P.M. Kariuki was not mentioned.

Before the attempted coup, Kenya's Air Force had 2,500 officers and men, of whom 2,000 were arrested. Some 1,800 are still under interrogation for their parts in the coup-mutiny. Air Force rebels are to be tried by courts-martial, which are to begin soon.

In another surprise weekend announcement, President Moi relieved the police chief, Ben Gethi, of his duties and appointed his deputy, Bernard Njiinu, as acting commissioner.

President Moi appears to be firmly in charge of a country greatly unsettled by the events of Aug. 1. The changes in high positions may herald more changes; there is likely to be a government reshuffle. But the question of who masterminded the Air Force rebellion remains.

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