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How Makueni doctor linked to ISIS planned anthrax attack in Kenya

A medical doctor has been jailed for 12 years for being a member of a terrorist group.

Dr Mohamed Abdu Ali, who was based at a hospital in Makueni County, was jailed by Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku.

Dr Ali’s sentence will run from the date of his arrest on April 29, 2016. He was convicted of being a leader of the terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS).

The medical doctor was convicted of planning a terrorist attack using biologically produced anthrax bacteria to cause havoc in the country.

The effect of the biological attack, which Dr Ali, then a doctor based in Wote, Makueni County, and his co-terrorist outside the country planned to use, is to attack human cells, potentially causing instant death.

In the judgment delivered by Ms Mutuku, Dr Ali was found guilty on five counts of being a member of a terrorist group, organising a meeting to support the activities of terrorist groups, recruiting members for a terrorist group, gathering information to commit a terrorist act and possessing articles related to the commission of a terrorist act.

“I find that the prosecution has proved its case against Ali in respect of counts 1, 2, 4, 7 and 8 and I convict him on these counts in accordance with section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). I give him the benefit of the doubt on counts 3, 5 and 6 and acquit him under 215 of the CPC,” the judge ruled.

However, the court acquitted Ali’s wife, Nuseiba Mohammed Haji Osman alias Umm Fidda, who was charged with her husband on all counts of planning a terrorist act and membership of a terrorist group, on the grounds of lack of evidence.

Convicting Ali, who was a medical practitioner in Wote before his arrest on April 29, 2016, Ms Mutuku said there was overwhelming evidence that he was in constant communication with other terrorists outside the country through his social media accounts namely Twitter, Gmail and WhatsApp, Kik messenger, Threema and Telegram among others.

“From the evidence of the 26 witnesses, the court concludes that the first accused person was associated with Alshabaab as he would disseminate the information on his various social media platforms by providing logistical support to ISIS, a known terrorist group. On his Twitter account, even when the accounts were closed, he would open other accounts and share Alshabaab material with his followers,” the judge ruled.

The magistrate also found that Ali, as a member of ISIS terrorist groups, organised meetings in support of terrorists and at one point gave a directive to one Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan a.k.a Miski, a known terrorist, and other unidentified persons to plan the establishment of an ISIS cell in Kenya with the help of ISIS returnees from Libya.

Ali was also convicted of being in possession of items, namely videos and images in his three mobile phones and laptops, for the purpose of inciting the commission of terrorist acts.

During the hearing, prosecutor Duncan Ondimu told the court that the terrorist network linked to Ali was actively radicalising and recruiting university students and other Kenyan youth into terrorist networks.

The court was told that Ali and his accomplices outside the country were planning large-scale attacks using anthrax – a bacteria that can cause illness or death in Kenya.

Prosecutors said Ali’s network facilitated Kenyan youths to secretly leave Kenya to join terrorist groups in Libya and Syria.

Ali’s terror network within Kenya extends to the Coast, North Rift and Western regions as well as other countries including Somalia, Libya and Syria.

It is alleged that ISIS recruiters are known to seek out medical students around the world.

Prosecutors also said the network included medical professionals, with whom they planned to carry out a biological attack in Kenya using anthrax in 2016.

Two other ISIS terror suspects, Kiguzo Mwangolo Mgutu and Abubakar Jillo Mohammed, who were linked to plans to carry out retaliatory attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa, disappeared after Ali and his wife were arrested.

Following the conviction, the prosecutor urged the court to impose the maximum penalties provided for in the law for the five offences of which Ali was found guilty.

Mr Ondimu said he would appeal against the sentence.