Monday, November 4, 2013

Four charged over Westgate attack

PHOTO | SIMON MAINA | FILE A view of the Westgate mall in Nairobi on September 21, 2013. Four suspects were on November 4 charged in connection with the attack.

PHOTO | SIMON MAINA | FILE A view of the Westgate mall in Nairobi on September 21, 2013. Four suspects were on November 4 charged in connection with the attack.  AFP

By VINCENT AGOYA
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Four men were on Monday charged in connection to the Westgate mall massacre in September, an attack claimed by Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab in which at least 67 people were killed.

The four, who are all ethnic Somalis, are Mohammed Ahmed Abdi, Liban Abdullah, Adan Adan and Hussein Hassan. They are believed to have been involved in the attack together with others who are either at large or were killed during the operation mounted by security forces.

"The accused persons carried out a terrorist attack at Westgate Shopping Mall on September 21 by supporting a terrorist group," the charge sheet read.

All pleaded not guilty to the charges, which also included entering Kenya illegally and obtaining false identification documents.

State counsel James Kirui said that before day of the attack, Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Liban Abdullah supported two terrorists identified as Moahmmed Abdinur Said and Hassan Mohammed Dhohullow in “committing a terrorist act at the Westgate Mall.”

Mr Kirui also accused Adan of offering shelter to one Abdikadir Hared Mohammed alias Mohammed Hussein at a location along Eastleigh’s Muyuyu Avenue in Nairobi. “On or before October 7 at Salman Al Faris Madrassa you knowingly harboured one Abdikadir Hared Mohammed alias Moahhmed Hussein who you knew to have committed a terrorist act,” the prosecutor said.

One of the suspects, Adan Dheq, was further charged with obtaining a false Kenyan identity card on July 13, 2010 at the National Registration Bureau office in Mandera town. He denied the charge.

Inspector Kennedy Musyoki swore the affidavit saying four of the suspects' accomplices died in the operation which was mounted to rescue hostages from the mall.

“Investigations were commenced which led to arrests of a number of suspects including the respondents who were either directly or indirectly involved in the mall attack,” Mr Kirui said.

DENIED BAIL

The prosecutor said the police had sworn an affidavit against the suspects being granted bail on grounds that they are known international criminals with no permanent residences in the country and may interfere with investigations which are still on-going.

“We believe they are international criminals who if granted bail will definitely abscond and it will be difficult to trace them,” Mr Kirui added.

Magistrate Dolphine Okundi concurred that the police had compelling reasons to disallow the release of the suspects on bond.

“Compelling reasons have been given and bail or bond at this stage is denied,” the magistrate ruled and ordered them detained at the Kilimani police station for a week.

The prosecution also asked for more time for further investigations. The court was told that data from mobile service providers which may further implicate the suspects was still being reviewed.

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