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Mpeketoni terror attack suspects freed for lack of evidence

By Joackim Bwana | March 23rd 2016

Four key suspects charged with mass murder in Mpeketoni and Hindi, Lamu walked to freedom Wednesday after a High Court in Mombasa freed them for lack of evidence linking them to the killings of 72 people.

Mahadi Swaleh Mahadi alias Jesus, and Suleiman Ahmed Dyana, charged in relation to the June 15, 2014 Mpeketoni attack, were acquitted of all the 60 counts of murder levelled against them. There was no indication if the State will appeal the judgement.

Minutes later, Justice Martin Muya also freed Swaleh Shebe and Joseph Chege who had been charged with 12 counts of murder in Hindi on July 5 2014. They were also let lose because the State had failed to prove their guilt despite relying on the evidence of a self-confessed murder convict Gituge Ngamau, who the judge said was compromised by the police.

Mahadi and Diana who have been out on bond have always denied the charges, with the former alleging he had been framed by local residents of Mpeketoni and police out of a land based vendetta. Dyana alleged that he was a victim of militiamen blamed for the mass murder who, he says, kidnapped him in Malindi and abandoned him in a bush injured, only to be detained and charged for the murder after seeking treatment at a local hospital and reporting to local police.

Wednesday, Mahadi and Diana smiled and looked up into the sky full of gratitude as Judge Martin Muya delivered the judgement.

The two hugged family and friends including their lawyer Taib Ali as they majestically walked out of the courts.

"Police did poor investigations in relation to the case against the two men and the case cannot be proved. The court finds them not guilty and acquits them on all 60 murder counts," read Muya.

Muya said that police had been slow in responding to the attacks and arrived hours after the attackers had gone.

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