Tuesday August 18, 2015
Ahmed Iman Ali
Three extremists suspected to be running an underground radicalisation campaign to recruit Kenyan youth into al Shabaab and ISIS terror groups are today unmasked by the police.Police say the trio is behind the disappearance of young men and women suspected to have been spirited away to join the terror militia. Names of some of the young people recruited into extremism have also been released.
Three of those on the police most-wanted list on suspicion of leading the radicalisation were named as Abdifatah Abubakar Ahmed, Ramadhan Kufungwa and Ahmed Iman Ali. Ali’s influence is reportedly felt in Nairobi’s Majengo slums, where he hails from, while Abdifatah and Kufungwa are said to have big influence in Mombasa county and the greater Coast region.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said yesterday many youth have ran away from their homes or dropped out schools and many are suspected to have travelled to as far as Syria to join the ISIS.
Information about the recruiters and the disappeared youth is contained in a document provided by Boinnet, titled, ‘Tracing the Disappearing Kenyan Youth’, which sheds light on what has been happening in the shadowy terror gang world. Boinnet said Abdifatah is among the most wanted individuals responsible for a series of attacks in the Coast region.
He was reportedly involved in planning and coordinating attacks in Lamu and Tana River county within al Shabaab and is suspected to be among commanders of Jesh Ayman hiding on Boni forest. Additionally, Abdifatah is said to have been part of the planners of the Westgate Shopping Mall attack in 2013.
“Abdifatah is of Somali descent who grew up mostly in Kenya. He holds a fraudulent Kenyan ID card and was deported to Somalia in 2008 for harbouring Harun Faul and Saleh Nabhan. He is married to Zamzam Mohammed Hajj and operates from Somalia,” said Boinnet.
Kufungwa is Abdifatah’s accomplice and was reportedly an imam in-charge at Majengo’s Musa Mosque before he ran away to Somalia after he got wind authorities were looking for him. He is said to have commanded the killing of sheikhs opposed to his teachings and those allegedly working with the government, among them the late Sheikh Idris Mohamed.
He was also behind a spate of violent robberies in Mombasa that were carried out by members of his cell so as to raise money for the militia activities. “He continues to co-ordinate recruitment of youth and facilitate their movement to Somalia as well as source for logistical support for militia holed up in Boni forest,” said Boinnet.
Ahmed Iman has reportedly appeared several times in al Shabaab propaganda urging recruits to take up arms and kill innocent Kenyans under the guise of religion. His efforts extend beyond the social media sphere, is in charge of a facilitation network that is taking Kenyan youth from the Coast, Nairobi, North Eastern and other counties.
He was reportedly radicalised by the late Sheikh Aboud Rogo while in a local university and by 2005, had led other radicalised youth to eject Pumwani Riyadha mosque committee members, claiming they were not teaching the ideologies of groups such as al Shabaab and al Qaeda.
He left for Somalia in 2009 where he currently operates from but still lures vulnerable youth to cross over. “Iman was born in Mombasa but moved to Nairobi early in his childhood following a split in his family.
After his primary and secondary education in local schools, he studied Engineering at the University of Nairobi under government sponshorship,” explained Boinnet.
Among the youths he reportedly recruited from Majengo were the late Hassan Omondi Owiti alias Budalangi and Abdalla Bin Abdalla. Hassan was a trained al Shabaab operative who participated in various grenade attacks in Nairobi in 2012, but was killed in May 2013 in a gun-fight with police who had gone to arrest him in his Githurai hide-out.
Apart from the recruiters, Boinnet also named some of the youth suspected to have been recruited into the terror gangs, saying most women are radicalised by extremists to become their wives and concubines. The girls targeted by these groups fall within adolescent to young adult category, said Boinnet.
The police boss said the recent case of Tawfiqa Dahir and Salwa Abdalla Babe, the young women from Nairobi’s South C estate, who allegedly joined ISIS, was a tip of the ice berg of the recruitment situation. Three other women suspected recruited through Abdifatah’s influence are Ummul Khayr Sadir, Khadija Abubakar Abdulkadir and Maryam Said Aboud, but they were arrested at El Wak attempting to cross into Somalia.
Other women, Shamsa Shariff Mohamed and Saada Bilal, wife and mother of Abdalla bin Abdalla alias Maalime Burhan were arrested last month following investigations of the network of recruiters luring young women to join al Shabaab.