Court finds two men guilty of being Al Shabaab members

Anthony Kitila Makau (left) Mohammed Osman Nane (centre) and AbdMjait Hassan Adan at a Milimani court on Tuesday, February 13, 2024. Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Two suspects were on Tuesday found guilty of being members of Al-Shabaab terror group.

Milimani Court senior principal magistrate Zainab Abdul said that the state had proved that Abdimajit Hassan Adan and Mohammed Osman Nane had links and were a part of the Somalia-based terrorists’ group.

In total, the court found the two guilty on nine counts, including being in possession of 36 hand grenades and AK 47 rifles.

It emerged that Hassan and Osman were arrested on February 15, 2018, in Isiolo in transit to Nairobi with vehicles that had improvised explosives in them.

Meanwhile, Lydiah Nyawira was found guilty of forgery.

Nyawira is said to have forged a national ID bearing the name Jirma Huka Galgalo (deceased) who was also a member of Al Shabaab.

On the other hand, the court acquitted Nyawira’s boss Francis Macharia for lack of evidence.

In the meantime, John Maina Kiarii, who was the sixth accused person died while undergoing treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital.

In his defense, Hassan claimed that he was an international camel trader selling the animals in Somalia and Dubai.

He claimed that the camels would walk for 40 to 60 days to Somalia.

Osman on the other hand said he was a Madrassa teacher in Moyale where he had been born had come to Nairobi for a livestock survey.

He said he met Hassan in Nairobi and later in Isiolo where they were arrested. Osman asserted that he had never been to Somalia and was not a member of Al-Shabaab.

In the first count, they were charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act contrary to the law on February 15, 2018.

They are said to have conspired to carry out terrorist acts inside Kenya by embedding explosives in motor vehicle registration number KBM 200 D thereby making the said vehicle Borne Improvised Device (VBIED).

On the second count, Hassan and Nane were accused that on February 15, 2018 in Merti sub-county within Isiolo County, they were found in possession of Improved Explosive Devices (IEDs) namely Seven Projectile bombs -84 mm and 40 kg pipe bomb to commit a terrorist act.

In other counts, the accused faced possession of a specified firearm without a license, Membership of terrorist groups and forgery.

Kenney Musyoki who is attached to Anti-Terrorism Police Unit Isiolo told the court that they arrested Hassan and Osman in Merti area within Isiolo County.

He said they were transporting a cache of arms to Nairobi to carry out the attack, while three others were arrested later in Nairobi County in different areas.

At the time of their arrest, a number of items including explosives devices, some of which were improvised bombs and inbuilt in three motor vehicles.

On the day when the two were arrested, police on patrol at Merti police station spotted a vehicle and on approaching the car, the occupants opened fire on police officers which triggered fire exchange and one of the suspects was shot dead in the process.

On searching the vehicle, police recovered a 5 AK-47 rifles, 36 fully loaded magazines, 36 unprimed hand grenades, 18 improvised explosive devices, 3 military knives, keys of a room believed to have been rented in a hotel within Nairobi CBD.

A motor vehicle KBM 200D was fitted with explosives devices embedded in the body of the vehicle for purpose of acting as a car bomb.

Investigators said that investigations and interviews with the suspects linked many telephone numbers of persons believed to have been involved in the planning a terror attack.

Police told the court they are still in pursuit of other vehicles.

“The respondents were headed to launch an attack at the Milimani Chief Magistrate court on February 16 when Sheikh Guyo Gorsa was expected to appear in court to take plea in terrorism and related charges and the attack was meant to illegally free him from custody,” read an affidavit filed in court.

Musyoki added that the accused were engaged in a taxi business through the online platform of Uber as a cover for the criminal activities.

He added that the accused have other associates who are yet to be apprehended and their arrest is being pursued by the security agencies both within and outside the country.

“Based on the issues raised here, makes all the accused persons flight risk and should thus remain in custody pending hearing and determination of the case facing them” said Ondimu.

He added that the court should take judicial notice of terror attacks which have previously occurred in the country leading to death of innocent persons both Kenyan and foreigners leading to great public anger and apprehension.

The officer added that during the shootout, other occupants in the said motor vehicle escaped and the police officers arrested the first two accused at the scene.