Kenya Police find vital information on terror suspects
Posted Saturday, August 2 2008 at 20:50
- Fazul is said to be a computer whizz and an accomplished bomb-builder.
- After rigorous questioning, Fazul’s wife, Miriam, was deported to Somalia.
- Wanted terrorism suspect Mohammed Abdulmalik has been transferred to the US prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
On January 12, 2007, two men and three women sent word to Kenyan authorities at Hulugho on the Kenya-Somalia border that they wanted to surrender.
The drab town that had been teeming with soldiers, police and members of the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) looking for al-Qaeda suspects was suddenly on high alert.
The security forces thought they had finally smoked out Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the principal target of a US raid on Ras Kamboni forest on Somali side of the border.
US aircraft struck Ras Kamboni forest after intelligence reports indicated that Fazul and al-Qaeda cell members supporting the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) were hiding there.
But rather than finding Fazul, one of the world’s most wanted terrorism suspects, the forces discovered that one of the women in the group that turned itself in was his wife, Mariam Ali Mohammed.
The group included two other women, two men and eight children who had taken refuge in Kolobio village on the Kenyan side of the Kenya-Somalia border soon after US aircraft bombed the al-Qaeda base in Ras Kambonion January 7, 2007.
Civilians living in the area were forced to flee after the raid, but Ethiopian forces were on high alert, waiting to capture al-Qaeda suspects.
The safest recourse for most residents of the village was to cross into Kenya.
But the then Internal Security minister John Michuki had ordered the porous Kenya-Somalia border closed and stationed soldiers from the 1st, 7th and 15th Kenya Rifles at the key entry points of Amuma, Liboi and Hulugho.
With the increased security and Ethiopian soldiers on the prowl, the group of 13 had to rely on forest cover and darkness for two days to be able to cross into Kenya.
Frightened and desperate, the two men in the group, Osman Yasin Buh alias Osman Yasin Ahmed and Ahmed Hadala Osman, asked villagers to contact the Kenyan security officers and send word that they wanted to surrender.
The operation to receive this group of suspected al-Qaeda members was led by the then deputy provincial police officer, Mr Mbijjiwe.
Security around the Hulugho police station, where members of the Langata-based 7th Kenya Rifles had pitched camp, was quickly beefed up, ATPU officers summoned a helicopter from Garissa. and members of the public were kept at bay.
A team was organised to meet the group of 13 at their hideout.
Because they had expected to find masterminds of the al-Qaeda Somalia cell, the team was very surprised to find Fazul’s wife and his eight children aged from eight months to 12 years.
The two other women were identified as Sofia Abdinassir, 20, and Mulki Abdinassir Omar, 21.