A former teacher in Garissa has been cited as the mastermind of yesterday’s terrorist attack at a university college in the area.
A Sh20 million bounty has been placed on the fugitive, Mohamed Kuno. He has been on the run since December last year, when he was identified as the Shabaab commander who oversaw the killing of 58 Kenyans in Mandera.
The death toll in yesterday’s attack at the Garissa University College is 70.
According to a statement from the government, Kuno has three aliases — Sheikh Mahamad, Dulyadin and Gamadhere.
Kuno, a Kenyan, moved to Somalia at the time of the Islamic Courts Union, which later metamorphosed into Al-Shabaab, and became part of it. He uses his family members to carry out terrorist acts in northern Kenya.
Some sources named his associates as Adam Kuso, Khalid Dheere and Mohamud Taro.
The statement says Kuno is Al-Shabaab’s leader for the Juba region, Somalia, and is currently in charge of operations against Kenya. Juba shares a vast border with Kenya, and touches Mandera, Garissa, Wajir and Lamu counties.
“He commands the militia along the border and is responsible for cross-border incursions in the country. In the recent past, he has intensified attacks in northern Kenya and the Coast region, particularly Garissa, Mandera and Lamu,” says the statement.
Gamadhere, as the terrorist leader is commonly known, was first brought to the attention of Kenyans by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations on December 17 last year.
At the time, the government offered Sh2 million to anybody who gave information that would lead to the man’s arrest. It circulated his photograph, alongside that of Ahmed Iman Ali, a terrorist from Majengo, Nairobi.
“Gamadhere is believed to be very religious and has been a madrasa teacher for several years. He worked for Al-Haramain Foundation between 1993 and 1995 before the institution was closed. At the time, he was known as Sheikh Mahamad.
ISLAMIC COURTS UNION
He later became a teacher and principal at Madrasa Najah in Garissa from 1997 to 2000, where his extremist tendencies became more manifested.
“He thereafter joined Al-Shabaab after being motivated by the ideology of the Islamic Courts Union to establish an Islamic statehood in Somalia,” says the statement.
The document says most of his recruits are family members and former students of Madrasa Najah. He is also known to have an extensive terrorist network within Kenya, particularly at the Dadaab refugee camp.
The statement goes on to list Kuno’s lineage, including tribe, sub-tribe and clan, and his three wives and children, some in Garissa and others in Somalia.