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Westgate attack suspect freed as 3 face trial

Storyline:National News, Security

By Fauxile Kibet

NAIROBI: A Nairobi court has freed one of the four men who was being held in connection with the deadly attack on Westgate shopping mall in 2013.

The court however ruled that three other men must stand trial for the attack in which 67 people were killed.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Anddayi said in his preliminary ruling Monday he was satisfied with the prosecutor’s evidence linking the three suspects to the siege- which the Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility.

“I am satisfied that the prosecution has established there is a case to answer against the three suspects, but I will acquit Adan who has no case to answer,” ruled Mr Andayi.

Adan Dheq whom the prosecution charged alongside three other suspects- Ahmed Abdi, Liban Omar and Hussein Mustafa was freed by the court after it was established he (Adan) was not the one identified by CCTV cameras while making payments in a local bank. The payments were supposedly to be used to purchase a vehicle which was to be used in the September 21, 2013 heinous attack.

The militants have been carrying out attacks in Kenya since 2011 after the East African nation sent its troops to Somalia to try and eliminate the terror threat, which had increased.

The country’s security agents say that they have managed to foil most of the attacks at its planning stages – which have consequently seen attacks deep inside Kenya reduce.

The militants have in the recent past targeted security agents with Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) – killing some of them.

Last month, three people were injured after a lorry they were traveling in ran over an IED in Lamu, in Kenya’s coastal region.

According to the director in charge of an ongoing security operation in the county Joseph Kanyiri, the lorry hit the explosive device suspected to have been planted by Al-shabaab militants.

“The victims were the lorry’s two drivers and their assistant. They were taken to Kiunga dispensary for first-aid treatment before being flown to King Fahad Hospital in Lamu town,” he said.

In August last year, five Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) soldiers died and 10 others injured when their vehicle ran over an IED on the same road.

However, Kenya has registered progress in the operation with 10 al-shabaab militants getting killed and seven AK-47 rifles and an assortment of ammunition recovered in September last year during operation.

Security consultant Tyrus Kamau opines that terrorism has since evolved in recruitment and tactics.

“It is not easy to single out a recruit or recruiter. It is even more difficult because the stereotype of your typical terrorist has moved from an individual of Arabic or Somali extraction to just about anyone.”