Kenya: Man jailed for 10 years for travelling to Somalia

Man jailed for 10 years for travelling to Somalia
Simon Karuga Gitau before Mandera Senior Resident Magistrate court on October 18, 2016. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for illegally traveling to Somalia. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP.

A 32-year-old man was on Tuesday jailed by a Mandera court to serve 10 years imprisonment for traveling to Somalia unlawfully.

Simon Karuga Gitau from Mwea, Kirinyaga County was found guilty of travelling to a terrorist-designated country without passing through a designated immigration point.

He appeared before Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Areri.

Gitau was arrested on September 13, 2016 eight kilometers inside Somalia by locals who handed him over to Somalia police and later handed over to Kenyan police.

In his defence, Gitau said he left Mwea on August 31, and came to Mandera to search for a job as a mason.

He said he stayed in a lodging in the town for three days paying Sh200 per day and decided to look for a cheaper room which he could pay Sh400 monthly.

“I went looking for a cheaper house and crossed into Somalia but after walking a long distance, villagers arrested me a handed me to police,” said Gitau in his defence.


Mr Areri rejected Gitau’s defense, saying looking for a cheaper house to rent could not have taken him to Somalia.

“I find his allegations that he went to Somalia to look for a cheaper house to rent not acceptable and I reject the same,” said Mr Areri in his judgment

The trial magistrate observed that Gitau’s movement from Mwea on August 31, 2016 up to the date he was arrested in SO was clear that he was traveling to join Al-Shabaab.

Through a Gazette notice number 200 of October 9, 2015, Kenya defined SO a terrorist-designated country and barred her citizens from traveling there without valid permission.