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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seven Al Shabaab Members in Kenya Kidnapping Plot

Seven suspected Al-Shabaab members were on Wednesday charged with illegal possession of firearms in circumstances indicating that they had intentions to kidnap.

  • The accused, all Somalis, also faced charges of engaging in criminal activities, congregating without a reason in addition to possessing firearms and ammunition without a certificate.

Messrs Ali Abdullah, Sharmake Ahmed, Abdikarim Jelani, Mohamed Ali, Abdillahi Mohamed and Baba Ahmed who appeared before a Mombasa court denied the charges and the case was fixed for hearing on February 2.

The offences are alleged to have been committed on diverse dates between December 30 and 31 last year at Mkokoni in Lamu East district.

The accused allegedly were found armed with six AK-47 rifles, a rocket launcher, 501 rounds of ammunition, 21 AK-47 magazines and a ladder in circumstances that indicated they were armed for a kidnap in the country.

They were also accused of knowingly engaging in criminal activities by being members of Al-Shabaab, a prohibited group as per Kenya Gazette notice dated October 18, 2010.

In the last count of being unlawfully present in the country, the accused pleaded guilty and were consequently sentenced to a two-year jail term.

 The prosecutor told the court that on December 30 last year, police officers in Kiunga received information that armed men had left Ngao area and were heading northwards on a boat.

"A section of GSU officers encountered seven armed men at Mvundeni village in Lamu, an exchange of fire ensued but the officers managed to subdue them," the prosecutor said.

He told the court that after a search, firearms were recovered and it was established that they were not Kenyans and did not have documents from the immigration department to legally allow them in the country.

The proceedings against the seven were carried out with the help of a Somali interpreter.

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