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Court sets free owner of Pangani blast car

By Fred Makana | Published Fri, October 3rd 2014 at 00:00, Updated October 2nd 2014 at 23:24 GMT +3
Ahmed Dugal, the owner of the vehicle that exploded at Pangani Police Station,
at the Milimani courts in April. He was acquitted of terror-related charges for
lack of evidence yesterday. [PHOTO: FILE]

NAIROBI, KENYA: The owner of a car that exploded at Pangani Police Station killing two police officers in April was yesterday acquitted of terror-related charges for lack of evidence.

Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Mbugua said the evidence given in court failed to link Ahmed Dugal to the terror attack, which killed all the four occupants in the car.

She said the evidence presented in court failed to establish a connection between Mr Dugal and Hajir Abdow Kassim, who blew himself up in the car.

"After listening to the evidence of the witnesses who testified before this court, there is no doubt that the explosion was triggered by an explosive. However, the nexus between the accused and the terrorist who detonated the explosive has not been established," Ms Mbugua ruled.

Dugal had been charged with sheltering one of the terrorists who died in the explosion and offering his car for use in carrying out the April 23 attack.

The magistrate, however, noted the evidence by bomb disposal unit experts presented during trial showed the explosive was carried by a terror suspect who was strapped to an explosive in the rear seat of the car and not Mohamed Abbas, the driver of the car.

Mbugua also noted there was no evidence linking the accused to the terrorists in the car since most items recovered from his house were not connected to the explosion.

"The court also considered a forensic analysis by the Government Chemist on the items recovered from the accused's house but the report presented failed to link him to the Pangani incident," she said.

She said police officers who testified in the case indicated the explosives in the car were destined for a different location but could not table in court evidence to back the claim.

Meanwhile, in the same court, terror suspect Abdi Rizzack Muktar Edow, who was arrested in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve after his vehicle was found with eight hand grenades, renewed his bail application. Through his lawyer Samson Nyaberi, the suspect asked the court to review his bail application, saying circumstances under which he was denied bail had changed.

"My client has been in custody for a long time yet he was denied bail on security grounds. I urge the court to review the bond terms since circumstances which were cited as reason for denying him bail have changed since then," Mr Nyaberi argued.

SUSPICIOUS IMAGES

However, prosecutor Duncan Ondimu opposed the application, saying Edow had hired his vehicle to Sheikh Hassan on May 31, a day before it was intercepted at a road block in Mandera town.

"The accused's vehicle was found with the hand grenades, a fact he has never denied to date. At the time of arrest in Narok, his mobile phone was found with certain images that are believed to support terrorism activities. These are compelling reasons that the court should consider before releasing him on bail," Mr Ondimu argued.

He said even after the accused knew his car had been found with the grenades, he did not surrender until he was arrested in Narok.

He asked the court not to release Edow, saying the offence he faces attracts a maximum of 30 years in jail should he be found guilty. He also asked the court not to release the accused on bond, arguing he was a flight risk. The magistrate will give a ruling on October 9.


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