Garissa varsity attack suspects linked to terrorists - Daily Nation

State wants Garissa varsity attack suspects put on defence

Thursday January 17 2019

Garissa University terror attack suspects

Garissa University terror attack suspects, from left: Rashid Mberesero, Osman Abdi Dagane, Sahal Diriy Hussein, Hassan Edin Hassan and Muhamed Abdi Abikar at Milimani Law Courts on January 16, 2019. Prosecution counsel Carole Sigei urged the court to put them on their defence. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SAM KIPLAGAT
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A magistrate was on Wednesday asked to put on their defence five people accused of planning the attack at Garissa University in 2015 in which 148 people were killed.

Making submissions before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi, prosecution counsel Carole Sigei said all the five suspects conspired to commit the attack in which many students were killed.

She said data obtained from the five and communication retrieved from mobile phones seized from Mohamed Ali Abdikar, Hassan Aden Hassan, Sahal Diriye, Osman Abdi Dagane and Rashid Charles Mberesero, showed that they were in constant communication with the four terrorists who were also killed.

156 COUNTS

The five have denied a total of 156 counts over the attack which occurred on the morning of April 2, 2015.

The charges include committing a terrorist act in which 148 people died, conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and being members of a terrorist group.

Mr Mberesero, a Tanzanian, faces a further charge of being in Kenya illegally.

Ms Sigei told the court that the prosecution tabled both circumstantial and direct evidence linking the five to the attack.

She said a number of witnesses who testified saw some of the accused persons while intelligence officers were able to trace them to Mandera, a few days after the attack.

Mr Dagane was an employee at the university.

WITNESS

During the hearing, a witness – Mr Kolombo Adao, a Muadhin (a person who calls people for prayer) at a mosque identified as Mororo in the neighbouring Tana Rive County, said Mr Mberesero came to the mosque a few days before the attack and appeared like a man on a journey.

The court was told that the accused person came with a bag and used to sleep in the mosque and, unlike other people, Mr Mberesero was well-learned and was keen to know more about the Quran.

He said Mr Mberesero did not participate in the prayers on the day of the attack but left the mosque in a hurry, never to return.

He left the bag behind and police took it a few days later.

The bag had what appeared to be a farewell letter which said that death was imminent.

DEFENCE

On his part, defence lawyer Mbugua Mureithi said the prosecution had not discharged the burden of proof because there was nothing linking any of the accused persons to the attack.

He said the police did not say how the suspects were arrested, some 700 kilometres away, or linked to the attack because none of them, except Mr Dagane, was at the university compound.

The lawyer said the only thing the prosecution had to link them to the attack were their mobile phones.

“It is now becoming dangerous to own a mobile phone in this country,” he said.

Mr Andayi will give his ruling on whether the suspects have a case to answer on January 23.

The suspects are being held at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison after they were denied bond.

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