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Terror suspect charged in Kenyan court over Westgate attack

Saturday, October 12, 2013

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Kenyan prosecutors on Friday charged a terror suspect linked with Westgate terror attack on Sept. 21 for allegedly planning to a carry out terror attack.

The accused Swaleh Abdalla Said who was arraigned before Mombasa Senior resident magistrate Richard Ondenyo however denied the charges.

Swaleh was also charged for being in possession of a hand grenade and planning to carry out terror attack. He has been remanded at the police station in Mombasa to allow police to complete their investigation.

In sworn affidavit, police requested the court to grant them four days to enable the officers to thoroughly interrogate the suspect and possibly arrest his accomplices.

Chief Prosecutor Simon Waithaka said police have linked the accused to the Westgate mall attack that claimed more than 70 lives, and need more time to investigate him.

"The accused will be remanded at police station for four days when the court will rule on the hearing of the case," said Ondego.

The suspect was arrested on Thursday morning by a team of officers from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit in the coastal city of Mombasa. The suspect later led the officers to his house where the grenade, several passports, two mobile phones and 290 U.S. dollars were recovered.

According to reliable police sources, the accused is Al-Shabaab member and had returned from Somalia.

Police sources have revealed that he is a part of group that have been linked with financing and recruiting of youths to join the Al-Shabaab terror group.

"He has been on our terror radar for since 2004 when he joined the Al-Shabaab terror group, we believe he is member of terror group and had undergone paramilitary training in Somalia," a senior anti-terrorism police officer told Xinhua.

A man appeared in court and claimed that he was recruited by Swaleh to join Al-Shabaab in Somalia in 2004.

He told journalists that the accused was member of Al-Shabaab and he is willing to testify in court to assist police in building strong case for the accused.

Yusuf Turkana said he escaped from Somalia after his four colleagues were killed by Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.

In a separate development, a student is also being grilled by anti-terrorism police in Mombasa over Westgate mall terror attack.

The 19 year-old Form Four student identified as Said Nassir Haddir was trailed and picked from his home in Kisauni, Mombasa on Thursday, by police officers working on highly placed intelligence information.

Police said the student who holds a valid Tanzania passport, had communicated with some of the terror suspects being held by police in Nairobi.

So far police have arrested and questioned more than 40 suspects in the ongoing probe.

Kenyan police have stepped up security surveillance across the country following intelligence reports that Somali militants who claimed responsibility of the recent mall attacks, were planning to carry out retaliatory terror attacks in the East African nation.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said security forces have increased surveillance measures in key installations, private and public places and urged the public to exercise caution while dealing with people with ulterior motives.

Bomb attacks using improvised explosive devices and grenades have become more frequent in the capital Nairobi, the coastal city of Mombasa and northern eastern region since KDF entered Somalia in 2011 to secure the shared border with the lawless country.



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