African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Top al-Qaeda man now back in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on August 4, 2008

By Caroline Mango, Paul Gitau and Cyrus Ombati

A suspected Al-Qaeda mastermind and key suspect of the 1998 American Embassy bombing in Nairobi is in Kenya, but has eluded a police dragnet.

Fazul Abdullah Mohamed escaped arrest in Malindi at the weekend after sneaking into the country from Somalia a few days earlier.

Fazul beat the police in his trails by an hour when he left a house he had been staying for the past week.

The suspect has previously escaped four police dragnets.

A police officer guards a house at Mimdan ,Malindi where two Al-Qaeda suspects were arrested yesterday. INSET: Terror suspect Fazul Abdalla Mohammed.


And yesterday, top security officers held daylong meetings, as others interrogated the two arrested suspects. Details of the meetings were scanty, but sources said they strongly believed that Fazul was in the country.

The East African region Al-Qaeda operative is linked to two fatal bombings the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Nairobi that claimed 218 lives, including American Embassy officials, and the Paradise Hotel Bombing in Kikambala, Mombasa, in 2002. Twelve people lost their lives.

During the police operation on Saturday night, Fazuls two aides were arrested.

Officials tracking down the suspect disclosed yesterday that Fazul had been in the country for several days seeking treatment for a kidney ailment.

Anti-terror police, with the aid of other local and international sleuths, combed major joints and estates in Mombasa and Malindi yesterday following reports that Fazul could be hiding in the towns.

Two international passports and several other documents that police termed vital were found in a house where the two aides were.

“We confiscated two of what we believe are Fazuls passports, which bear different names. We are also in possession of several other documents belonging to Fazul and his aides,” said a police source.

The two terror suspects were flown to Nairobi yesterday for interrogation at an undisclosed place. They were initially quizzed for hours at the Coast Provincial CID offices.

Police identified them as a Mr M. Mahfudh and his son, Ibrahim.

The ailing Fazul is believed to have been shuttling between Mombasa and Malindi districts in the past week looking for a suitable doctor who could attend to his problem.

“Intelligence reports show that Fazul arrived in Kenya from Somalia several days ago and went into hiding in Malindi for medical check up.

“He shuttled between Mombasa and Malindi, seeking treatment for his kidney condition. He also met several aides in secret meetings,” said a senior police source.

The police raid took place at Casuarina in Malindi, an upmarket estate near the Malindi District Hospital.

Malindi OCPD Gregory Waikwa confirmed the police operation, but declined to explain its nature.

“We believe the two suspects in our custody have been harbouring the most wanted suspect for days in the Malindi house. It is from here that they planned for medication for him after he failed to get them in Somalia,” they said.

Several contingents of police visited hospitals and clinics in Mombasa and Malindi in search of the wanted terrorist.

The main borders were closely monitored to ensure he did not get out. Security agents were also on alert in Nairobi on Sunday.

Fazul, the suspected leader of Al-Qaeda in East Africa, has tried to attack Kenya five times in the past ten years and has succeeded twice, with devastating results.

Some 218 Kenyans were killed and another 5,000 injured in the 1998 Nairobi bombing. He has a US $5 million (Sh325 million) bounty on his head.

Other unconfirmed reports indicated that another terror suspect, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, wanted for interrogation over the 2002 attacks in Mombasa against a hotel and an airliner, was in the vicinity.

“We are trying to establish their mission here, but we appeal for anyone with information regarding their whereabouts to let us know,” said the police.

On Thursday, Kenya will mark a decade since terrorists blew up the American Embassy in Nairobi.



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