Mandera killings suspect arrested
A suspected Al-Shabaab terrorist has been arrested on suspicion he was behind last month’s Mandera massacres in which 64 people were killed .
Detectives on Thursday brought the man to Nairobi for further interrogation. He is on the police’s most wanted list.
The 30-year-old Salim Abubakar Kitonga, a Kenyan, played a key role in Al-Shabaab’s activities in Mandera County, the police said.
Area Police Commander Job Boronjo said he was cooperating with police and that more Al-Shabaab sympathisers and sponsors would soon be arrested.
“This man, Salim, is a Kenyan and he has been on our wanted list for a long time as investigations indicate he is behind the recruitment of Kenyans, Ugandans and Tanzanians into Al-Shabaab,” said Mr Boronjo.
He said Mr Kitonga facilitated the movement of non-Somali recruits into Somalia through Bula Hawa and that he has been living at a mosque in Mandera Town.
“There is enough information that he planned the two attacks that left 64 people dead last year” said Mr Boronjo.
64 PEOPLE KILLED
The 64 were killed in attacks on a bus and quarry. Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo resigned soon after and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku was replaced.
A source in the police team that arrested Kitonga told Nairobi News that papers found on him indicated he was from Vihiga County.
A national ID showed he was from Sabatia Division, Chavakali Location in Walodeya Sub-Location.
“He told the police his father is Kamba and his mother Luhya and that he speaks both languages fluently, which helped him recruit youth from the two peoples,” said the source.
Meanwhile, a matatu that was hijacked in Mandera and the passengers taken hostage has been released.
Mr Boronjo said the matatu was seized by Somalia’s Bula Hawa administration in revenge after Kenyan security agencies arrested 10 terror suspects along the border.
“We proved to them that those in custody are criminals who had been taken to court in Wajir,” said Mr Boronjo.
The matatu was seized on Wednesday and a source in Bula Hawa said the Transitional Federal Government of Bula Hawa had hoped to force the Kenyan authorities to release the arrested youths.