[VIDEO] 14 suspected Al-Shabaab operatives held over Garissa College massacre
A Nairobi court has ordered the detention of 14 suspected Al-Shabaab operatives, including five men linked to the Garissa University College massacre in which 148 people were killed.
The five will spend a month in custody at an undisclosed police station in Nairobi while the rest will spend between five to 15 days at the Muthaiga and Kileleshwa police stations.
On Tuesday, prosecutor Daniel Karuri told the court that police were following strong leads linking Mr Mohammud Adan Surrow, the owner of a hotel in Garissa Town where the terrorists who attacked the university stayed, Mr Osman Abdi Dakane, a security guard at the ill-fated campus who was arrested while taking pictures of the dead and making frantic telephone calls, Mr Mohammed Abid Abikar, Mr Hassan Adan Hassan, and Mr Sahal Diriye Hassan, who allegedly delivered weapons to the attackers and were intercepted while crossing over to Somali after the bloodbath.
A sixth suspect in the Garissa massacre, Mr Rashid Charles Mberesero, alias Rehani Dida, a Tanzanian, was not in court, “ having travelled with detectives to Garissa to gather more evidence” after he confessed of being a member of Al-Shabaab.
“The suspects are believed to have been involved in the attack at Garissa University (College) on April 2 in which innocent students lost their lives… investigations so far have established that they had contact with the attackers,” the prosecutor told the court as he sought orders to detain the suspects longer.
He said members of the public requested the security guard at the university to help remove the dead “but instead he started shooting pictures and making phone calls”.
“Preliminary investigations on his call data have revealed that he has been in constant communication with several contacts in Somalia suspected to be Al-Shabaab operatives,” Mr Karuri told the court.
The prosecutor also said that investigations had established that some of the attackers went to Mr Adan’s hotel in Garissa Town.
Mr Karuri said there was information that the Tanzanian was headed to Somalia to join forces with the terrorists.
“In light of this revelation, it was necessary that investigators rush him to Garissa for further probing,” he said.
The suspect is expected in the Nairobi court on April 9 for a similar request to detain him further.
Documents presented in court stated that the rest of the nine suspects, among them a Yemeni and a Ugandan, were suspected of being on a surveillance mission for “soft targets”.
The Yemeni, Mr Ahmed Mohamed Ali, was arrested at the University of Nairobi’s Kabete campus hostels but he denied being a terrorist and told magistrate Benson Nzakyo that he had come to Kenya to study English.
NOTHING TO DO WITH IT
“I am sorry about what is happening to Kenya, but I must state that I have nothing to do with it,” he said.
The suspect is among those to spend the next 15 days in custody for profiling.
The Ugandan, Mr Andrew Katende, was arrested alongside Mr Antony Maina and Mr Samuel Njuguna at a mall in Mlolongo while in the company of a Spaniard, who has since been handed over to the respective authorities for further investigations.
Mr Mustafa Abdi Yusuf and Mr Abdi Elimi Rag,e who said they are Kenyans and “born-again” Christians but were still detained for “verification”, were arrested at the Nairobi Assemblies of God church.
The suspects claimed they were estranged from their families after they denounced Islam and became Christians, but the prosecution said they were suspected to have been on a surveillance mission for soft targets for terrorist attacks.
Among the suspects was Mr Hassan Munguti Muiya, who said he is a beggar, but the prosecution said he had been arrested while trying to “force his way into the NPC Valley Road church last Sunday wearing a Muslim head cap”. He will be detained for five days at the Muthaiga Police Station.
Two other suspects said to have been operating a “business front” for funding Al-Shabaab activities have also been remanded in police custody for 15 days.
Another suspect said to have been on a surveillance mission was arrested at the Pangani shopping centre and will be in custody for 15 days to help with investigations.
The magistrate said he had no choice but to detain the suspects as requested because of the widespread public outcry following the Garissa massacre despite their objections and their right to bail.