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Terror suspect who trained in Somalia

Monday May 20 2013

Rental house where two  terror suspects were shot dead by police on Sunday at Nairobi’s Githurai Kimbo estate and right, a neighbour of the two terror suspects. PHOTO/BILLY MUTAI

Rental house where two terror suspects were shot dead by police on Sunday at Nairobi’s Githurai Kimbo estate and right, a neighbour of the two terror suspects. PHOTO/BILLY MUTAI 

By ZADDOCK ANGIRA [email protected]

The terror suspect shot dead by police on Sunday had trained in Somalia before coming back to the country.

Felix Nyangaga Otuko, a close accomplice to the self-confessed Al-Shabaab member Elgiva Bwire, was then employed as a cook in one of the city hotels. But after his close accomplices were arrested, he again escaped to Somalia.

Otuko was trained in how to use a wide range of weapons, according to detectives. When he was shot dead, police recovered 64 assorted rounds of ammunition.

There were 45 rounds of 9 millimetre calibre, mostly used with Ceska pistols; nine rounds of 7.62 mm special calibre used with AK47 rifles; and .38 mm mostly used with revolvers. He could use all these types of firearms effectively.

Though there were shots fired from within the house, police did not recover any firearm. They suspected the couple could have thrown the firearm out of the building, but they later combed the nearby marshes in vain.

As the first officers entered the gate, Otuko hurled the first grenade at them that injured five officers, including the Githurai Kimbo police station commander. The officers resorted to using live ammunition, but without success.

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Officers from the GSU’s Recce Company were called in to reinforce their Anti terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) counterparts. Just before they were shot dead, he hurled three other grenades at the officers, injuring one.

For the entire period they stayed there, the couple never visited the salon nor a barber shop located about 10 metres from the entrance of their house. Within a radius of about 15 metres, there is a shop, a salon, tailoring shop, a nursery school and two grocery shops. The couple never visited any of them.

Police on Sunday picked at least three people, including the apartments caretaker for questioning. Detectives however said Monday that the neighbours had very scanty information regarding the man since they never interacted with him.

When Otuko came back to the country, he moved together with his wife to an apartment in Githurai Kimbo where he was among the first three tenants. They rarely interacted with people, and the man would go to the house only once a week at night.

Otuko was working together with Elgiva Bwire alias Mohammed Seif, Mr Omar Muchiri Athumani alias Hussein and Mr Stephen Macharia alias Mchangoo.

When Mr Bwire was arrested in Kayole and found with six guns, 13 grenades and 717 assorted rounds of ammunition, the group decided to keep their arms and ammunition at different places.

On Friday, he closely monitored the case of engaging in an organised criminal activity and being in possession of firearms against both Athumani and Macharia when the matter came up for hearing in court.

The other two have also been charged with causing grievous harm to Mr Justus Makau Mulwa and Mr Patrick Ndolo Kinyingi when they detonated a grenade at OTC bus stage on October 24, 2011. The same month, attackers hurled a grenade at Mwaura’s Pub, injuring at least 14 people.

The DCI boss Ndegwa Muhoro said police lost track of the suspect when he escaped to Somali last year before he sneaked back into the country.

The couple’s child is well, and police say she would be kept at a secret location for her safety.

When police ordered residents out of the apartment, the two instead moved with their daughter from their one bedroom house on the ground floor to the first floor, and lay in wait.

They even used their daughter as a human shield. The two did not have any identification documents and the fingerprints were taken to the Registrar of Persons. However by yesterday, police had not received the report.

Mr Muhoro urged Kenyans to take a keener interest in the activities of their neighbours and report suspicious characters.