A 23-year-old man walked to a police post in Kamkunji, Nairobi and declared he was an Al-Shabaab recruit who had fled from the militants’ Somalia hideout.
Mr John Muimi from Samburu told police he had joined the terror group in June 2019. He said he was taken to Likoni, Mombasa on November 29, 2019.
He was then taken to Mandera and later to Somalia where he was briefly trained and made to take an oath.
By then he was in the company of six other Kenyans. According to him, they trained for almost a month before he managed to escape and returned to Kenya on January 6 using the Kitui- Thika highway route.
He arrived in Majengo, Nairobi on Monday. Majengo is regarded as a hotbed for terror recruitment and radicalization in the city.
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Police said the man had two mobile phones and his personal clothes. He was handed over to the Anti-Terror Police Unit for debriefing and further interrogation.
“We do not know if he is lying or it is true. We will know with time,” said an officer aware of the incident.
Cases of radicalization and terror recruitment are on the increase in major slums in Nairobi, Isiolo, Mombasa and parts of Kwale.
Those targeted are lied to that they will get money and training opportunities only to end up in the terror cells for training.
It is not clear how many Kenyan youth who are currently in Somalia for training and fighting for the terror group. Some are usually killed in clashes by other security agencies or the terror group.
President Kenyatta has directed security agencies to hold more barazas to increase information flow from the public, concerning terrorist operatives, recruiters and propagandists.
“This needs to be sustained this year, in addition to you doing more to make communities feel safe from terrorist intimidation. This sense of safety and freedom from intimidation or retaliation from the terrorist elements, will encourage even more people to speak up and resist the tactics of terrorists,” he said.
The president ordered County Commissioners to coordinate with the National Counter Terrorism Centre to ensure that every County has launched and is implementing a County Action Plan, for the Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism.