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Look at our bodies, we can’t be trained militants, Rogo’s sons tell security agencies

COUNTIES
By - NYAMBEGA GISESA | September 2nd 2013
The late Rogo’s wife Haniya with her two sons. RIGHT: Rogo’s 18-year-old son Khubaib. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

By NYAMBEGA GISESA

KENYA: Dhulkifli, a 14-year-old outspoken madrassa student, was the first to welcome us.

“They say I trained as a militant,” he broke the silence. “Just look at my body.” Dhulkifli is the son of the late Sheikh Aboud Rogo who was murdered during a drive-by shooting by unknown assailants in Mombasa last year.

He is a short and chubby boy who pants like a strained asthma patient after running for a short distance. He cannot lift a 20-litre jerry can of water, let alone an AK47 rifle and ammunition. He is a boy who badly needs training to shed his weight.

Khubaib, an 18-year-old student at Islamic University, is the complete opposite of his younger brother in physique: tall and slender.

He needs to gain more weight in order to handle the heavy weapons he is alleged to be a master of.

We met him as he fed chicken, one of the activities his father loved most. Afterwards, he sat on the stairs at the front of their unfinished house for the interview.

He was wearing sandals, blueish shorts and a green T-shirt. He had this boyish grin. “Askari wanasema mimi ndio mkali (Police say I am the tough one),” he told us.

Last November, police arrested Khubaib, his sister Rumaisa and her husband, Swaleh Abdi Majid.

Recruiting youths

“What we know is that this man was from Somalia together with his father. They trained together but his father left him there and returned to recruit more young men,” Boniface Mwaniki, Head of Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU), said on November 14, last year.

Officers said that Khubaib and his friends joined the Al-Shabaab terror group in 2006.

According to police, the young men were withdrawn from their respective schools in Mombasa and Nairobi and taken to join Al-Shabaab militants.

Khubaib says the police had arrested him without reason, tortured and threatened him.

“They (police) are the terrorists. We have suffered since 2003, when they first arrested my father. The police come home without knocking. They don’t care what you are doing,” Khubaib narrated.

He was first put behind bars for days when he was only 17.

Khubaib is becoming a stronger speaker, perhaps better than his father whose burning sermons could torch a grass hut. He has a strong voice and his narrations ooze charisma.

“Since my father died, they have been telling me that they will do to me what they did to him. They want me to spy for the government. I told them I couldn’t betray a Muslim. If they believe that one is a terrorist, it’s upon them to prove it,” he said.

He added that the ATPU should come clean and tell Kenyans that security agencies were behind the killing of his father.

“Rop (Coast ATPU police boss) told me that my father was mouthy. He said that is why they killed him. He added that he had on several occasions warned my father to keep quiet but he refused,” Khubaib claims.

After his father’s death, anti-terror police issued an alert claiming that Khubaib was in Somalia and that he was on his way back to Kenya from Kismayu to carry out retaliatory attacks over the killing of his father.

The teenager says that all these are lies.

“I was in fact on the road from Nairobi to Mombasa when news reached me about the shooting involving my family. Other lies included that I had called for jihad. Kenyans deserve to know the truth,” he said.

Has he ever trained as a militant in Somalia?

“I’ve never been to Somalia. I have told them to produce evidence that I trained in Somalia,” Khubaib said. “During interrogations, they placed a gun on the table and ordered that I dismantle it. I told them I have never handled a gun,” he concluded.

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