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Police nab man ‘ahead of travel to train with Shabaab in Somalia’

The anti-terrorism police unit [ATPU] is holding a suspect arrested in Eastleigh, Nairobi, moments before he could leave for Somalia to train with the Al Shabaab terrorist group.

Idd Seleman Bakari was arrested on July 29 after the ATPU received intelligence information of his alleged intended travel.

Detective corporal Fredrick Ouma of Nairobi ATPU headquarters said Bakari is suspected to have been radicalised by the terrorist group’s recruiters in Mombasa.

In an affidavit filed at the Kibera law courts where he obtained orders to hold Bakari for five days, cpl. Ouma said Bakari is assisting police with investigations to uncover their [terrorists] illegal activities in Kenya.

Cpl. Ouma said due to the nature of Bakari’s possible involvement in terrorism recruitment, he possesses financial muscles to interfere with investigations, arrest of his associates, interfere with witnesses, obstruct investigations and should remain in custody pending completion of the investigations.

“The investigations are complex and require time and involve a number of agencies and extend to Somalia and Mombasa and Marsabit counties,” Cpl. Ouma stated.

“They require phone details of the persons that [Bakari] has been communicating with both in Kenya and Somalia, his digital print trail [forensic examination of his phone] and it is important for him to be detained by the ATPU to enable detailed criminal inquiries to be carried out.”

The detective said the investigations can only be comprehensively undertaken with Bakari in custody and releasing him would prejudice such investigations because he is likely to abscond.

Cpl. Ouma said intelligence reports show that Bakari had other associates who are being recruited to join terrorism and there is need to carry out detailed interviews with him and the associates once arrested with a view of finding their co-conspirators.

Bakari is being investigated for several terrorism and other related offences which include being a member of a terrorism group and traveling to a terrorist designated country in contravention of Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2012.

Membership to a terror group attracts a jail term of up to 30 years while traveling to a terror designated state or prefecture is punishable with a jail term of up to 20 years.

And Cpl. Ouma said these punitive penalties make Bakari a flight risk.

Senior principal magistrate Esther Boke allowed the application to detain the suspect until August 6.