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Westgate Mall attack plotters faced seven charges

 KDF officers take cover during the Westgate Shopping Mall terror attack in September 2013.  [File, Standard]

Two Westgate Mall attack convicts faced seven counts of committing a terrorist act contrary to Section 4(2) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2012.

Mohammed Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Hassan Mustafa, all of Somali origin, were accused of supporting a terrorist group contrary to the law. 

Ibrahim Adan Dheq, the third accused, faced another charge of harbouring persons committing terrorist acts contrary to Section 10(a) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2012.

He was accused that on or before October 7, 2013 at Salman Al-Faris Madrassa along Muyuyu Avenue in Eastleigh, Nairobi county, he harboured one Abidkadir Hared Mohamed alias Mohamed Hussein, whom he knew to have committed a terrorist act. Dheq was also accused of obtaining registration by pretense.

The state alleged that Dheq had on July 13, 2010 at the National Registration Bureau office in Mandera town, Mandera County, willfully and by false presence procured registration as a Kenyan citizen and was issued with a Kenyan identification card. He was, however, acquitted.

The Westgate Mall terror attack is in the larger list of terrorism cases that security agencies have managed to put pieces together and brought those involved to book.

The state has so far employed strategies that have proven effective in the fight against terrorism in the country.

In the years leading to some of the bloodiest attacks by the terror group on Kenyan soil, the Westgate attack, the random grenade attacks in Garissa, the gruesome two nights of terror in Mpeketoni, the Mandera explosions, the Wajir shootings, and the dozens of attacks in Mombasa, it was clear that brute force had lost its advantage in this war.

The more boots we had in Somalia, the more attacks were meted out on Kenyans. Church services in towns such as Garissa and Mombasa were brought to premature ends by exploding grenades.

Police officers manning public institutions in Wajir and Mandera were ambushed by gun-toting militia men. Matatus in Nairobi became booby-trapped modes of transportation with dozens killed from improvised IED.

On one evening in April 2014, a daring attack was launched on Pangani Police station. At least four people died, two of them policemen. But when the lives of 157 people, most of them students of Garissa University were abruptly halted by another group of gun-wielding terrorists, it was clear another approach had to be taken.

Global trends on the war against terror show that nations are increasingly relying on espionage to halt the jihadists’ march towards their warped goals.

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