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Garissa University attack suspects to know fate today

Wednesday June 19 2019

The four suspects who are charged with killing

The four suspects who are charged with killing 148 people in Garissa University when they appeared in a Nairobi court on June 19, 2019 for judgment. PHOTO | RICHARD MUNGUTI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Four people accused of planning Garissa University terror attack about four years ago in which 148 people were killed will know their fate on Wednesday.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi placed the four on their defence after hearing evidence 22 witnesses.

The court ruled that Mohamed Ali Abdikar, Hassan Aden Hassan, Sahal Diriye and Rashid Charles Mberesero have a case to answer.

Mr Andayi, however, freed Mr Osman Abdi Dagane, saying there was no evidence linking him to the attack which occurred on April 2, 2015 at Garissa University.

Mr Dagane, who was a watchman at the university, was arrested allegedly taking photographs after the attack.

The magistrate ruled that there was no evidence to support the allegations and the person who arrested him never testified in court and neither were photos brought as evidence.

The court also dismissed charges against Mr Mberesero, who was alleged to be a Tanzanian and was illegally in Kenya.

But the court confirmed all other charges against Mr Mberesero and his co-accused.

During the attack, some 148 people, mostly students, university staff and several police officers were killed.

The accused persons had denied a total of 156 counts, including committing a terrorist act, conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, being members of a terrorist group, while Mr Mberesero, faced a further charge of being in Kenya unlawfully.

State counsel Caroline Sigei told the court that the prosecution tabled both circumstantial and direct evidence, linking the five to the attack.

During the hearing, Mr Mberesero is said to have visited to a mosque near the university a few days before the attack and used to spend the nights there.

The court was told that he did not participate in the prayers on the day of the attack but left the mosque in a hurry, never to return.

He left a bag behind and it was taken by police a few days later. The bag had what appeared to be a farewell letter, saying that death was imminent.

Defending them, lawyer Mbugua Mureithi said some of the accused persons were arrested some 700 kilometres away and there was nothing to link them to the attack except their mobile phones.