|Mombasa police boss Robert Kitur|
By WILLIS OKETCH
MOMBASA COUNTY: Mombasa police boss Robert Kitur Monday defended the raid on Masjid Musa in Mombasa on February 2, saying it was necessary to protect Kenya from extremists.
Kitur told Justice Edward Mureithi at the Mombasa High Court that police raided the mosque after receiving intelligence that some extremists were there radicalizing youth, adding that he organised an operation to flush them out because they were a security risk.
“The police went to the mosque to flush out the people who were being trained by the extremists on February 2,” said Kitur.
Kitur, who is the third witness in a case, which the family of Salim Hemed has applied for his production, was testifying to help the court find out the whereabouts of Hemed—who disappeared from police custody after his arrest at the mosque.
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He said after getting intelligence about the extremists, he organised a raid on the mosque—in his capacity as county commander—as the meeting was a threat to national security.
They said the operation started at 1pm and ended at 6pm when he called off the operation. Kitur, who was being cross examined by lawyer Yusuf Abubakar, told the court that during the operation several suspects were arrested but only 29 have been charged in the court.
Assistant Director of Public Prosecutor Alex Muteti is representing the prosecution while rights activist Okiya Omtatah is an applicant conducting his own case.
The County Commander denied having seen Hemed but recalled that there were more than three suspects from the mosque in which one of them was suspected of being found in possession of a G3 rifle, which had been robbed from a General Service Officer who was killed in the mosque.
“I can remember some suspects were brought from the mosques by my officers who also handed the rifle to me. They said one of the suspects was found in possession of the rifle but I cannot remember who he was,” said the commander.
Kitur said he had to seek the services of other units because the people they were going to deal with at the mosque were dangerous.
“It is true they were dangerous people and also a threat to national security and that is why I had to involve all officers under my command,” he said, adding that all suspects were taken to Makupa Police Station for sorting out and possible prosecution.