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Grenade attack suspect charged with murder

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Updated Wed, July 18th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Willis Oketch

A terror suspect believed to have thrown a hand grenade that killed a security guard in Mombasa has been charged with murder.

The grenade attack took place at a pub in Mombasa two months ago.

The suspect, Thabit Jamaldin Yahya, was, however, remanded in custody by Justice Maureen Odero until July 31 when he will come up for plea.

Yahya, who has been at the Coast General Hospital where he was admitted after the incident, was brought to court by police under tight security.

The suspect, who was in a wheelchair, as he cannot walk following injuries he sustained during the incident, faces charges that on May 15 at Bella Vista Hotel in Mombasa County, jointly with others not in court, he murdered Mary Cheptirim.

Justice Odero ordered the deputy registrar to look for a Lawyer who will defend Yahya.

The judge also ordered the prosecution led by State lawyer Muteti Muasya to bring a psychiatric report showing if the accused was mentally and physically fit to stand trial following the injuries he sustained.

Arrested on scene

During the attack, police arrested the suspect immediately after the incident and connected him with the crime.

He was arrested after scene of crime and bomb experts collected a pin plucked from the device before being lobbed at the target.

The police also recovered a pistol on the scene. Both have already been taken to fingerprint and ballistic experts.

Yahya is the only suspect who has been charged in court following several hand grenade attacks in Mombasa.

No one has been arrested in connection with the Mtwapa and Stadium Bar attack, which left one person dead and several injured.

However, police arrested a suspect in connection with the Mishomoroni attack last month. He was later released.

The suspect, Athman Salim, was arrested after he failed to explain why he was at the attack scene. But after police investigation, he was never linked to the incident.

Salim has since threatened to sue the Government for defamation and malicious prosecution.

He was set free after two weeks in police custody and he claimed that police interrogated him every day and tried to pressurise him into accepting responsibility for the attack.

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