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Police name Kenyan suspects luring youth to join Al Shabaab

By Cyrus Ombati | August 18th 2015

Police have named three people who they claim are behind recruitment of youths into terror groups.

Although they initially operated in Kenya, they have all shifted base to the terror hotbed of Somalia.

The alleged Al Shabaab die-hards have been accused of using the Internet lure the youth, including university students, with hefty cash promises and other goodies, a police report says.

The report says the outlaws have also been using intelligently crafted advertisements, including in the mainstream media, to lure unsuspecting youth by promising them non-existent college opportunities in Somalia and the Middle East.

The murderous Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has also been recruiting in Kenya and so far up to 12 youth are believed to have left for Syria.

According to police, some of the suspects responsible for disappearances of youths are Abdifatah Abubakar Ahmed, Ramadhan Hamisi Kufungwa and Ahmed Iman Ali.

Abdifatah and Kufungwa have a sway on the youths in Mombasa and the entire coastal region.

Abubakar is also accused of being responsible for a series of terror attacks at Coast.

He is accused of co-ordinating Al Shabaab activities and was allegedly among commanders of Jesh Ayman in the Boni forest and spearhead attacks in Lamu, Tana River County.

Security agencies also claim he was involved in the planning of the attack on Westgate Mall in 2013.

Abdifatah, police say, was also involved in the recruitment of young men and women at the Coast to join Al Shabaab.

The women include Ummul Khayr Sadir, Khadija Abubakar Abdulkadir and Maryam Said Aboud. The three were arrested in El Wak while attempting to cross to Somalia.

Abdifatah is from Somalia but grew up mostly in Kenya.

He holds a fraudulent Kenyan identity card and was deported to Somalia in 2008 for harbouring Harun Fazul and Saleh Nabhan.

Kufungwa, according to the report, was Abdifatah’s accomplice in Mombasa. Before he fled to Somalia, Kufungwa was an Imam at Musa Mosque.

The police accuse Kufungwa of indoctrinating and recruiting youth and later transporting them to Somalia.

Boni Forest

He is also accused of masterminding murders of Sheikhs opposed to his teachings and those allegedly working with the Government, including Sheikh Idriss Mohamed.

“He continues to co-ordinate the recruitment of youth and facilitating their movement to Somalia as well as the provision of logistical support to militia holed up in Boni Forest where they periodically engage law enforcement authorities in attacks particularly using improvised explosives devices (IED),” states the report.

Ali has appeared severally in Al Shabaab propaganda videos urging youth to take up arms and kill fellow Kenyans under the guise of religion.

Police say Ali is in charge of a facilitation network that is taking young Kenyan men and women from the Coast, Nairobi, North Eastern and other parts of the country to Somalia.

Ali studied engineering at the University of Nairobi under government sponsorship.

Ali’s terror links came to the limelight in 2005 when he reportedly led radicalised youth to eject Pumwani Riyadha Mosque Committee members, claiming they were not teaching the ideology of groups like Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda within the mosque.

He is said to have also recruited youth in Majengo, Nairobi, to join Al Shabaab.

Ali left Kenya for Somalia in 2009.

Among the key operatives recruited by Ali, according to police, are Abdalla Bin Abdalla alias Maalim Burhan and Hassan Omondi Owiti, alias Budalangi.

Owiti participated in various grenade attacks in Nairobi in 2012. He was killed in May 2013 in a gunfight with police who had gone to arrest him in a house in Githurai, Nairobi.

Ali continues to lure Kenyan youth from Majengo in Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi, Isiolo, Marsabit, Kakamega, Isinya and Garissa to join Al-Shabaab.

Some of his recruits are believed to have been in the attack on Baure KDF Camp in Lamu in June this year.

Terrorists killed in the attack include Luqman Issa Osman alias Shirwa, who was a key commander in the Mpeketoni attack in June 2014, in which 60 people were killed.

Among those missing is Ahmed Awadh Said alias Biggy. Ahmed disappeared from Mvita, Mombasa, in 2014. Following training in Somalia, he returned to Kenya as part of the Jesh Ayman militia operating between Boni Forest and Somalia. Ahmed is one of the Al Shabaab extremists who participated in the Baure KDF attack in June 2015.

Shamsa Shariff Mohamed and Saada Bilal, wife and mother to Abdalla bin Abdalla alias Maalime Burhan, were arrested last month following investigations into the network of recruiters luring young Kenyan women to join Al Shabaab and marry Al Shabaab fighters in Somalia. They were arraigned and pleaded guilty.

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