230 al Shabaab in Kwale, Lamu – cops

A billboard in Mombasa of wanted terror suspects. PHOTO/ANDREW KASUKU.

the-star

 

Two hundred and thirty al Shabaab returnees are hiding in Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu counties, sources have said.

Multiple sources within the government said the youth sneaked back into the country through the porous Kenya-Somalia border and are being harboured by their relatives and families.

According to intelligence reports, the terror suspects went to Somalia for training and sneaked back into the country between June last year and March this year.

Majority of the returnees are believed to have sneaked back after the US drone strike last month that killed al Shabaab leader Adnan Garaar.

Garaar is believed to be the mastermind of the September 21, 2013 Westgate Shopping Mall siege in which 67 people were killed.

A source said majority of the returnees are hiding in Kwale county and are heavily armed.

“Those youth are well trained and equipped. They form the local al Shabaab terror cells and they could be planning major attacks,” the source said.

Two of the suspects who sneaked back in the country are Alfan Said Mwamtaka and Hamisi Shaban Kulunda, who were gunned down by police on April 11 in Diani, Kwale.

A Flying Squad officer was seriously injured during the incident and two pistols and an AK47 rifle were recovered from the suspects.

Detectives are investigating two mosques – in Diani and Kona ya Musa in Kwale county – over their links to terror.

A senior detective, who sought anonymity, told the Star the two mosques are believe to be radicalising youth by preaching extremist messages.

Some parents of youth who have joined al Shabaab are living in fear of being victimised by security agents.

Saum Mwachambuni, a Kwale mother of four, said her son joined al Shabaab.

Her son, Suleiman Hassan Simba was reportedly killed in February 2010.

“Even with the reports that my son was killed in Somalia, I still live in fear of being victimised by security agencies,” Mwachambuni told the Star.

She said she could also be targeted by the al Shabaab returnees on suspicion that she holds vital information about the group, as her son was a member.

“We have been informed a bigger number of al Shabaab are back and they could be targeting families of their colleagues who died in fighting or training in Somalia,” Mwachambuni said.

Police have issued a 10-day amnesty to al Shabaab returnees to surrender.

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