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Cartoonist’s would-be killer targeted Clinton

Sunday January 3 2010

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton address delegates during the official opening of the 8th Agoa summit in Nairobi in August, 2009.  Photo/ FREDRICK ONYANGO
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton address delegates during the official opening of the 8th Agoa summit in Nairobi in August, 2009. Photo/ FREDRICK ONYANGO
Danish police said on January 2, 2010 they shot and wounded a Somali man with al Qaeda links when he tried to break into the home of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard whose 2005 caricatures of Prophet Mohammad outraged many Muslims. Photo/REUTERS
Danish police said on January 2, 2010 they shot and wounded a Somali man with al Qaeda links when he tried to break into the home of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard (above) whose 2005 caricatures of Prophet Mohammad outraged many Muslims. Photo/REUTERS
By DOMINIC WABALA and AGENCIES

The Danish-Somali man arrested for attempting to kill a Danish cartoonist was arrested in Kenya last year on suspicion of plotting an attack on visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He was, however, released without any charges being filed and deported to Denmark.

Denmark’s second largest newspaper, Politiken, reported in its Sunday editions that the Danish intelligence services knew the 28-year-old Somalia-born man was held in Kenya on terrorism related charges last September.

But Denmark’s ambassador to Kenya, Bo Jensen, told the news agency Ritzau the man was arrested in Kenya for immigration offences. He said Kenyan authorities never told the embassy he was suspected in any terror plot.

Danish police are investigating reports that the man, who was shot twice after entering the home of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard while armed with an axe, was deported from Kenya last September shortly after Mrs Clinton’s visit for the Agoa conference.

The suspect was on Saturday charged with attempted murder, wheeled into the Aarhus court on a stretcher, covered with white hospital blankets and with a towel around his head to prevent him from being recognised. Remand judge Kristian Richter has issued an injunction against naming the man and has remanded him in custody for four weeks, two of which are to be in isolation.

According to politiken.dk’s reporter at the scene, the 28-year-old was weak and pleaded not guilty to the two counts of attempted manslaughter brought against him. He is described as having a crew-cut and with a small goatee. His arm was in a thick bandage and his leg in a splint.

Special safe

Westergaard told his employer, the Jyllands-Posten daily, that he had locked himself and the grandchild in a special safe room as the intruder shouted “revenge” and “blood” and tried to smash his way into the house. “My grandchild did fine,” he told the newspaper. “It was scary. It was close. Really close. But we did it.”

Mr Westergaard incited widespread outrage in the Islamic community after publishing cartoons considered derogatory to the religion. He has since had to live under police escort.

Politiken reported operatives in the Danish Security and Intelligence services had confirmed that the suspect is the same man who was arrested in Kenya by Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) detectives on suspicion of a plot against Mrs Clinton.

He was reportedly sent back to Denmark after the ATPU detectives did not find evidence to charge him in court. According to the man’s passport, he was in the country on a two-month tourist visa and had been on holiday in Nairobi and Mombasa before he was arrested and detained briefly.

The suspect in Danish custody was arrested in Kenya at about the time security services revealed a planned terror attack on installations including two five star hotels in Nairobi targeting foreigners.