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Police: 10 mosque raid suspects fled


Police in Mombasa now claim that 10 terror suspects arrested during the February 2 storming of the controversial Musa Mosque escaped while being transported to Makupa Police Station.

An officer told a court in Mombasa said Hemed Salim Hemed, one of suspects arrested during the raid, is among those who fled from police. He also disclosed that two policemen were stabbed by youth resisting the police swoop.

Meanwhile, the number of suspects in police custody reduced to 29 after the State withdrew terrorism charges against 41 suspects. The 29 were set free on bond.

Police officer Owino Okuto, who handcuffed the missing suspect outside the mosque, was testifying in a case lodged by Hemed’s family demanding that police produce him.

Owino told Justice Edward Mureithii that the missing suspect never reached Makupa Police Station after he and other suspects broke away from police officers taking them to the cells.

Traffic jam

“It is my evidence that at the time of arrest, there are those who escaped from the lorry and others jumped from the Land Cruiser in the heavy traffic jam on Lumumba Road,” said Okuto.

The officer insisted Hemed was among the suspects who escaped from one of police vehicles that were used to transport them to the cells.

“There were 20 suspects in the Land Cruiser when we left the scene in the company of five other police officers drawn from different police units. I can remember the 10 jumped from the vehicle because  it was not covered and we could not chase them because we risked losing them all,” said Owino.

The State, however, insisted 29 suspects who were arrested on the same day will have to face charges of being members  Al-Shabaab.

Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate Richard Odenyo ordered their released on a Sh500,000 bond each with a similar surety.

Owino told the court that before the violence, he got instructions along with his fellow police officers to march to Musa Mosque, where there was going to be a jihad meeting.

“We were instructed to go and flush the suspects from the mosque  but on arrival , they started stoning us when the County Commander Robert Kitur ordered them to get out of the mosque peacefully,” said Owino.

The officer recalled  that  the  officers lobbed tears gas at the youths who had gathered in the mosque after they started firing at them.

He told the court that during the violence, the police used rubber bullets to arrest the suspects.

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