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Secret DNA test proved death of ‘wanted terrorist’

Sunday June 12 2011

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed had more than 10 fake names and, was said to be able to disguise himself as either an African, an Arab or Asian depending on circumstances.

Photos/FILE Fazul Abdullah Mohammed had more than 10 fake names and, was said to be able to disguise himself as either an African, an Arab or Asian depending on circumstances. 

By PATRICK MAYOYO [email protected]

DNA samples of terror mastermind Abdalla Mohammed Fazul, who was killed in Mogadishu last Tuesday, were flown to Nairobi and matched with his children’s before it was confirmed he was the one, it was disclosed on Sunday.

A security officer who spoke to the Nation on condition that he was not named, said US intelligence officials had samples of Fazul’s wife Halima and children.

“Immediately he was killed in Mogadishu his DNA samples were brought to Nairobi in a special flight and handed over to US intelligence officials,” he said.

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere on Saturday broke the news of Fazul’s killing at a road block in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. (READ: Nairobi bomb blast mastermind is dead)

Mr Philip Swabsin, the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ lead investigator on Fazul, told a Mombasa court last year that the samples were taken in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by a special agent in 2007.

Mr Swabsin, who was testifying before Mombasa senior principal magistrate Lillian Mutende in a case in which a family of three is facing charges of hosting Fazul, said the woman had been interviewed after the 1998 US embassy bombing in Nairobi.

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Mr Swabsin said the samples were later taken to the US armed forces’ DNA laboratory for custody. The samples have been used to link Fazul to 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam.

Fazul had been charged with the bombings in absentia in America and the FBI had an active arrest warrant against him.

Washington has hailed the death of Fazul, Africa’s most wanted man, as a “significant blow” to al Qaeda in Africa.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the killing was a “significant blow to al Qaeda, its extremist allies and its operations in East Africa.”

“It is a just end for a terrorist who brought so much death and pain to so many innocents in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and elsewhere — Tanzanians, Kenyans, Somalis and our own embassy personnel,” she said in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam during her African tour.

The chief US diplomat laid flowers at a memorial for the dead on the grounds of the new embassy in Dar es-Salaam.

“I know that there are those of you here today who were serving in the embassy on that awful occasion.

“Some of you lost friends and loved ones, and all Americans grieved with you then and we have not forgotten your losses.

“We have not forgotten our pledge to seek justice against those who would commit such atrocities,” she said.

The Somali Transitional Federal government on Sunday released more details about the killing, saying documents recovered in the operation indicated that he travelled from South Africa on March 19, 2011 entering Dar es Salaam on March 20, 2011.

Fazul was carrying a South African passport, photos and documents with the signature of Hasan Dahir Aways, one of the top leaders of al Shabaab, an affiliate of al Qaeda. Some of the documents were dated March 5, 2011, a day after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda’s head.

Additional reporting by AFP