Imam among 11 arrested over Al-Shabaab links

Wednesday September 26 2018

A man in handcuffs.

A man in handcuffs. The mother said her child has refused to leave police custody until her boyfriend is set free and they are allowed to get married. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MWANGI NDIRANGU
By MWANGI NDIRANGU
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Police in Nanyuki, Laikipia County, have arrested 11 men on suspicion that they are linked to terror group Al-Shabaab.

Laikipia East Police Commander Kizito Mutoro said the suspects were handed over to the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) after they were interrogated at Nanyuki Police Station for two days.

MADRASSA

“We received information that 40 suspicious people were being taken through Madrassa classes in Kabiru, which neighbours Nanyuki military barracks, last weekend," he said.

"The suspects were being taken through sessions so as to convert to Islam. After questioning them, we eliminated 11 adults and handed 29 children to their parents."

The 11, who included the mosque’s Imam, were first taken to Isiolo town by the ATPU officers as police widened their scope on clergymen who could be involved in radicalisation programmes.

Mr Mutoro said those found at the Kabiru Mosque were from 14 communities and that none of those arrested hails from Laikipia.

“We have to be keen since we cannot tell the reason for gathering individuals from across the country to undergo religious teachings here, “said the police boss.

He added that the arrested Imam is not registered with the Council of Imams, the body that registers Madrassa teachers.

THREE OTHERS

The arrests came about a week after two Kenya Defense Forces officers were apprehended in Nanyuki while transporting 750 bullets to Isiolo town.

A week earlier, a Muslim street preacher was arrested in Nanyuki after residents raised alarm over suspected Al-Shabaab links.

The police boss also handed the three over to the ATPU.

Mr Mutoro noted that Meru, Isiolo and Nanyuki towns are being targeted by terror groups so residents should report their suspicions.

“These areas are expansive and there are easy exit routes. We are not taking any intelligence information for granted because there are important security installations and we need to be in the lookout,” said Mutoro.