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Kenya: "I have no regrets," Oliacha told Principal Magistrate

"I have no regrets," Oliacha told Principal Magistrate who hoped the sentence will send a strong lesson to other militant sympathizers in the country

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Kenyan court on Friday sentenced a man who confessed to being a member of the Somali militant group, Al-Shabaab, to life imprisonment.

Elgiva Bwire Oliacha, also known as Mohamed Seif, had on Wednesday pleaded guilty to nine charges including causing bodily harm and being in illegal possession of assorted firearms, some of which had been used to carry out Monday attacks.

The 28-year-old Al-Shabaab member was also handed a 15-year sentence for being in possession of firearms illegally, engaging in organized criminal activity and by being a member of an outlawed criminal group.

The police raided his house on Tuesday night and found him in possession of 13 hand grenades, one AK 47, one sub-machine gun, two revolvers, two Berretta pistols and 716 bullets.

"I have no regrets," Oliacha told Principal Magistrate Grace Macharia who hoped the sentence will send a strong lesson to other militant sympathizers in the country.

Oliacha who the police said had received training recently in Somalia also pleaded guilty to causing grievous harm to those who were injured in a grenade attack on Monday night.

The Monday attack took place as commuters were waiting for public transport at the congested bus terminus along Racecourse road in downtown Nairobi.

Earlier on Monday, 13 people were injured when a grenade was thrown into a bar in the downtown area.

The location of the second attack is not far from the scene of earlier attack on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the authorities also charged two men on Friday with being members of Al-Shabaab blamed for a spate of kidnappings on the Kenyan soil.

However, both Omar Muchiri and Stephen Macharia, all Kenyans, denied the charges and also being accomplices of Oliacha, who has confessed to being a member of the extremist group.

The three were seized by the police on Tuesday as crackdown against members of the Islamic group intensified in Nairobi and across the country following threats by the Al-Shabaab to attack the country in retaliation for Nairobi’s military offensive in southern Somalia.

All-Shabaab militant leader in Somalia on Thursday called on his followers to carry out huge explosions inside Kenya.

Sheikh Muktar Robow said tossing small grenades was not enough, and urged his fellow militants to strike what he calls "big, painful blows" to the east African nation whose soldiers launched incursions in Somalia on Oct. 16.

The move came as Kenyan military forces in Somalia encountered their first direct clash with Al-Shabaab on Thursday where the troops killed nine Islamist fighters after the insurgents launched an ambush on a military convoy near the southern Somali town of Qoqani.

Oliacha who converted to radical Islam has been described by police as a key suspect in a string of terrorists’ attacks in Kenya.

The incident comes amid heightened security in Nairobi after Somali insurgents threatened reprisal attacks in Kenya if the troops which launched cross border incursions on Oct. 16 do not leave the Horn of Africa nation.