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Al Shabaab fighters are after me, says ex-terror suspect

COUNTIES
By Graham Kajilwa | August 24th 2016
Former terror suspect Daniel Ocheso and his three-year-old daughter, Ashley, during an interview with The Standard yesterday. He claims his life and that of his daughter are in danger from Al Shabaab members after he refused an offer to train youths in Somalia last year. He accuses the police of refusing to protect him. (PHOTO: WILLIS AWANDU/ STANDARD)

A former terror suspect says Al Shabaab sympathisers are after his life after he refused to train their members.

Daniel Ocheso Wesa,35, from Mombasa County says he has approached police for protection to no avail.

He has now turned to human rights groups for help but even then all he has received are referrals.

Ocheso, once arrested in 2015 on terrorism-related claims, says he is also worried about the safety of his three-year-old daughter, Ashley Wesa.

"She is the only family I have. I lost my other 16-month-daughter in February. She fell sick while were in hiding and died," says Ocheso.

He adds: "My wife (Faith Masumbuko) went back to her parents and my in-laws have been accusing me of putting her life in danger."

A Kenya Human Rights Commission official confirmed Ocheso approached them for assistance.

"We referred him to The Cradle (which handles children's welfare) because of his daughter. They are better placed to help him," said the official who did not wish to be named.

However, Ocheso went to The Cradle only for them to refer him to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR). He thought help had arrived only for KNCHR to send him to the Federation of Women Lawyers, who again referred him to Kituo cha Sheria.

"The above named person has visited our offices seeking legal assistance on claims related to terrorism charges. His wife abandoned him, he has no job and finds it difficult to sustain himself and his children," reads the letter from FIDA gave him when it referred him to Kituo cha Sheria.

It adds: "We are referring the matter to you for proper assistance as you are in a better position to assist."

Ocheso is worried that time is running out on him. "My biggest worry is my child's safety. Once she is safe, I can sort myself later. I will have nothing more to lose then."

Ocheso's problems started in 2013 when people believed to be members of Al Shabaab offered to pay him Sh6 million to train youths in Somalia.

"They knew I was a reformed criminal and that I once worked with the Joseph Konyi-led Lords Resistant Army in Uganda which meant 'good experience' to them," he said.

But being a evangelist in Mikindani where his 'Make a Home in Heaven Church' was based, he refused the offer.

It was his confessions that he had refused the offer during a live broadcast that landed him him in trouble. Anti-Terror Police Unit officers arrested him at a local radio station on April 28, 2015. He was however released.

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