Kenya: Suspected Al-Shabaab youth arrested after return from Somalia

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A man is being held over alleged links with the Al-Shabaab terror group.

The man is said to have disappeared from his home only to return after a year with documents suggesting he travelled to Somalia. Moris Mwakina Tolle alias Idris Hassan Tole was arrested at Mgange-Nyika trading centre in Taita sub-county on Sunday. Taita OCPD Benjamin Muhia said they recovered from the 23-year-old suspect three Somali currency notes, Arabic literature, three mobile phones and five sim cards including bus tickets showing he had come from Garissa. Police said they acted on information from the public and intercepted the suspect at Mgange-Nyika trading centre and took him to his house where the items were recovered.

Mr Muhia told The Standard at his office yesterday that the suspect had been out of the country for the past one year, where he is suspected to have joined the Al-Shabaab terror group in Somalia. “Residents became suspicious after they spotted the suspect who had been away for the past one year. They alerted the police who swung into action and arrested him. We suspect he is a member of the terrorist gang,” said the police officer.

Muslim convert

Muhia said the suspect converted to Islam while in Garissa town. “We believe the suspect had been radicalised and had been receiving some training in Somalia before he came back home last month,” he said. Mr Tolle was handed over to the Voi Divisional Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for further interrogation and action. Muhia said after Tolle completed his primary school education, he later joined Mwanjila Youth Polytechnic in Mwatate sub-county where he graduated as a mechanic. A fortnight ago, County Commissioner Oningoi ole Sosio said no youth had so far surrendered to the Government following the extension of the 10-day amnesty period.

“We have not heard cases of local youth who have joined terrorist group Al-Shabaab in the region,” said the county commissioner.

Speaking to The Standard, Mr Sosio said the amnesty still stands for those who want to surrender.

RADICALISED YOUTHS

“Cases of youths joining the terror gangs in Somalia have not been reported in the region. We do not have them here,” he declared. The commissioner disclosed that last year, security personnel arrested an Imam from Garissa who had been radicalising 10 youth in a residential house in Voi town.

Sosio said the youth in their 20s and of Somali origin had been living in one room where they were being radicalised by the Imam. He said police acted on a tip-off and raided the house where they found the Imam and the youths who hail from North Eastern. “We suspect the Muslim youths from Garissa County were brought to Voi for a purpose. They were later handed over to the Mombasa anti-terror police for interrogation,” said the commissioner.

Sosio said the matter was being handled at the highest level. “We handed over the suspects to higher authorities for investigation,” he said. At the same time, Governor John Mruttu said they had not received information about youths in the area joining terror gangs but called on parents to report to the authorities if there is any. “If there is any child who is missing and is suspected to have joined terror gangs, parents should report immediately to the police for action,” said Mr Mruttu.

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