Suspects linked to policeman, chief and assistant chief murder charged

Terror suspects Ayub Omar Bwanaadi, Mohamed Omar Bwanaadi and Kassim Ahmed Ali, denied involvement in terrorism. [Courtesy]

Three Kenyans linked to the murders of two local administration officers and a policeman were on Thursday charged with terrorism at the Kahawa Court.

The accused - Ayub Bwanaadi, his brother Mohammed Bwanaadi and Kassim Ahmed faced four counts of terror.

They were linked to the murders of a chief, an assistant chief and a policeman in 2019.

In the first count, Ayub, Mohammed and Kassim were charged with committing a terrorist act.

According to the second count, it was alleged that they killed Hesborn Okwemwa, a police officer, on October 2, 2019, in Lamu.

At the same time, they were accused of killing of Mbwajumwali area Senior Chief Mohamed Haji Famau, 45, and Myabogi sublocation assistant Chief Malik Athman Shee, 43, in Haji’s office on December 12, 2019.

The other count related to their travel to Somalia. It was claimed that they received training to commit a terror act.

They denied the charges and sought to be released on bail.

However, the prosecution opposed the application, arguing that they are a flight risk.

According to Sergent Geoffrey Busolo, Ayub, Mohammed and Kassim were on the run and on a wanted list for murder.

He stated that they fled to Tanzania in 2019 when the police went for them after the three murders.

“Due to the fact, the respondents were arrested at Isiolo-Moyale Road within Kenya, Ethiopia border while on their way to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab terror group. Investigations have shown that if released on bail or bond, the subjects are likely to actualize their plans by fleeing outside the court’s jurisdiction,” said Busolo.

The court heard that the suspects had been arrested on January 9, 2014, while still trying to exit Kenya for Somalia.

They again tried a second time in 2016 but their efforts were thwarted by the police. In 2016, they were en route to Uganda to join ISIS.

Ayub is 32 years while his brother is 10 years younger. Kassim on the other hand is 29 years. The trio were arrested on board a Moyale bus on April 7 this year. This is the third time that the police nabbed them.

Earlier during an application to hold them for interrogation, the prosecution argued the three were on the run after allegedly committing another crime in Lamu.

The three have been on the run from the police after warrants were issued against them for crimes, they are suspected to have committed in their home County, Lamu.

During their interrogation, the three said that they travelled from Tanzania through Lungalunga to Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate and were to cross over to Ethiopia before eventually moving to Somalia to join the terror group.

They sneaked into the country from Tanzania where they have been hiding.

Investigations linked them to the murder of police officers, chiefs, their assistants, nyumba kumi and community leaders in Lamu County.

The three men during their interrogation told police that the plan to join Daesh in Puntland was mooted by Ali Omar Bwanadi who is Ayub and Mohammed’s brother, police believe is currently in Morogoro, Tanzania.

Ali fled from Kenya to Tanzania after he realized that he was being sought by the police over alleged involvement in the killing of security officers and government officials in Lamu County.

Police believe that the three men chose to flee to Puntland after Kenyan authorities sought help from Tanzania authorities to apprehend them.

Ali is said to have introduced them to a facilitator based in Mombasa who sent them Sh150,000 for their travels.

The three men then travelled to Mombasa through Lungalunga with the help of bodaboda riders and boarded a bus to Mombasa town.

Once in Mwembe Tayari, Mombasa they were by the handler whom they told investigators is known to them as Abdi, he then transferred them into a waiting vehicle that was to move them to Eastleigh.

Abdi gave them the contact of a man who received and hosted them in Eastleigh for a number of days before giving them new sim cards to avoid detection by authorities.

He also trained them on personal security and counterintelligence as they made their way to Ethiopia, where they were to get new identity cards that for easy travel to Puntland.

The three men then boarded the Moyale bound bus before their arrest in Isiolo on April 7.