Terror suspect arrested in Tanzania to be charged

A Kenyan who was arrested in Tanzania while trying to cross over to the  Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through Uganda will be charged at the Kahawa Law Courts on Friday.

The Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) had on Monday presented Shida Jacob  Msanzu before the same court where they sought more days to hold him as they continue with investigations, they were granted five days.

According to police Msanzu was arrested by Tanzania authorities on April 3, 2023, and handed over to ATPU on April 10.

The 28-year-old was arrested while trying to cross over to neighbouring Uganda, where it is believed he wanted to join the Islamic State in  Central African Province (ISCAP) in Congo.

Investigators say that Uganda was his choice of crossing to Congo since Tanzania does not share a border on land with Congo, the existing one runs through  Lake Tanganyika.

Police believe that he crossed over to Tanzania from Kenya on December 29,  2022. He stayed in the country planning his move until he was arrested, investigators also believe that he was in constant contact with other militants from Somalia,  Mozambique and DRC.

His contacts in Mozambique, DRC and Uganda helped him plan his move to Congo.

Msanzu crossed over to Tanzania two weeks after he was freed by a Malindi Court. The trial magistrate said there wasn’t enough evidence linking him to terror activities.

He was arrested by a multi-agency team in Takaungu Vuma, Kilifi County on  May 26, 2017. Police said that he was promoting Al Shabaab’s ideology by posting extremist materials on online platforms.

Msanzu was arraigned in court, where he was charged with four counts of radicalization, possession of articles connected to the commission of terrorism act, collection of information for Al-Shabaab and being a member of a terror group.

He denied all four charges and the Malindi Court freed him on December 16, 2022, for lack of enough evidence.

Police also say that Msanzu can manufacture IEDs/ homemade explosives, and suicide vests and that he can handle weapons.

It is believed that Msanzu was radicalized when he joined the Majlis Maarifaa Madrassa in Kikambala Kilifi in late 2012.

This is after he started sharing radical content through his Facebook page “Mujahideen Yaqub” where he sought to influence his friends and followers to travel to Somalia and join Al Shabaab.

Msanzu’s arrest makes him the third Kenyan to be arrested in connection with terror activities related to Congo.

Abdirazak Muktar Garad was arrested in Congo for masterminding an attack on a Church in North Kivu near the Uganda border that left 10 people dead and at least 39 others injured in January 2023.

Authorities in Congo said that the 29-year-old who hails from Wajir County is a  member of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terror group which operates from Uganda.

The other Kenyan Salim Rashid Mohamed alias Chotara was arrested in January 2022 in Congo after a video emerged of him butchering a Congolese  soldier.

During his arrest, Mohamed was fighting for the ADF which operates in both  Uganda and Congo and has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

He fled Kenya for Congo using the Uganda border in mid-2019 after he was freed on a Sh1.5 million bond in a case where he was charged with being in possession of terror material.

Investigators believe that prior to his arrest, Mohamed had a brief stint in Mozambique where he fought for ISIS.

In early 2017 he was arrested while trying to cross over to Syria while he was a student at Istanbul Kultur University. He was later deported and the country issued a red alert notice on him.

Police are now raising a red flag on the number of suspects who jump bail or leave the country once they are released by courts.

Among them is Trevor Ndwiga Nyaga alias Jamal Idris who fled the country in September 2021 for Somalia. Ndwiga was arrested by police in March and September 2019, with police saying that he was planning an attack on a Church.

He was arraigned in court where he denied the charges and was released on a Sh2 million bond.

Another suspect, Alfan Juma, who police say is a close associate of Chotara was arrested in December 2018 in Elwak while trying to cross over to Somalia.  He was taken to court and released on a bond from the Shimo la Tewa prison the same year but never appeared again in court and police say that he fled to join ISCAP in Congo.

Balicha Bajaja Abakunde alias Gobu a Somali national was arrested by Police on July 25, 2018, in Kenya.

He was charged with being in possession of a firearm without a license and unlawful presence in the country.

He was also found in the custody  of a Kenyan ID and the court granted him a Sh200,000 cash bail.

He was to appear in court for a hearing on August 27, 2018, but he never showed up and investigators traced him to Al-Shabaab headquarters in Jilib, Somalia.