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Kenyan police arrest journalist over Kampala bombings

Monday, September 06, 2010

Kenya's Anti Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) have arrested a journalist working for an Islamic media house in the coastal city of Mombasa over the deadly bombing in Kampala, Uganda in July.

The officers raided the Radio Salaam offices on Saturday evening and whisked away Habib Suleiman just as he left the studio after his normal routine at work.

Suleiman voluntarily surrendered himself after being informed that the police wanted him for questioning over the bombing.

According to sources, the suspect was arrested on suspicion of having facilitated and financed the July 11 bombing suspects charged in a Kampala court, for causing the deaths of 76 people.

From left to right Isah Luyima, Mugisha Muhamood, Haruna Luyima and Edrisa Nsubuga who are being held as suspects in the twin bombings that claimed 76 lives during the recent World Cup soccer tournament. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera)
Suleiman, who recently settled in Mombasa from Nairobi with his wife and one child, lives in the Majengo area.

He had been working at the station in the production department as a presenter, producer and voice artiste, with his work entailing voicing advertisements.

Police chief Leo Nyongesa confirmed that the suspect who is in his late 20s was flown to Nairobi, where more investigations will be conducted.

"The investigations at this stage are still premature but we have all reasons to believe he is linked to the Ugandan bombings and once we establish a few details, we shall know the next step of action," Leo said on Sunday.

In a shocking revelation, senior police sources confirmed that there was a link between the coastal region and bombers of the Kikambala Paradise, Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in Aug. 7, 1998, and the Kampala.

Little information on Suleiman's arrest was given even as his colleagues kept away from discussing about him.

"Anytime I worked on a story related to anti-terrorism, he was so keen to follow it up, in fact he used to joke that he is a brother to Al-Faisal, the controversial Jamaican cleric who was deported to his country last year," said one of his colleagues.

The source also said Suleiman bore some resemblance with Al- Faisal, adding that at the station, he used to handle a special Islamic program with Sheikhs, especially during this Ramadan period.

"Suleiman began working at the station some time back, left for some months then came back again. He is a social person, all rounder and we believe if there is nothing implicating him in the case, he will be freed," the source said.

Leo said the suspect was arrested on Saturday night and detained for some time at the Provincial Criminal Investigations Department before taken to Nairobi.

"We have received a lot of opposition from those claiming we are targeting a particular group but you see when it comes to issues of national security, we cannot compromise over that," Nyongesa said by telephone.

Ugandan authorities have charged a total of 34 suspects of various offenses, including terrorism, murder and attempted murder.

The suspects include nationals of Kenya, Somalia and Uganda.

The al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the July 11 bombings in two locations in Uganda's capital during the World Cup final.

Al-Shabab has vowed to attack Uganda and Burundi for sending troops to Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission.

Source: KBC


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