What you need to know:
- Zakariya Kamala Sufi Abashiekh went missing in Mombasa on September 5, only for Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (Nisa) to announce that they arrested him as he tried to go into hiding in areas under control of al-Shabaab
The family of a businessman linked to the illegal shipment of arms from China to Somalia claim their kin is being set up by well-known tycoons.
Zakariya Kamala Sufi Abashiekh went missing in Mombasa on September 5, only for Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (Nisa) to announce that they arrested him as he tried to go into hiding in areas under control of al-Shabaab.
While reacting to the new developments, the family now claims that he was used as a sacrificial lamb by influential people they did not name, when he was staying in China.
In a social media post which was verified as authentic by his family members at a press briefing, a person identified as Kamal’s cousin, Dahabo Haji Isse, claims that there is a clique of businessmen who use young Kenyans abroad to traffic illegal goods across different countries without their knowledge.
“He started a small business from that side (of) China and East Asia. I have been cheated by Somali businessmen who I used to send (for) them what they wanted and they used to (pay) commissions,” he said.
His family confirmed that Mr Abashiekh had been to China for five years where he studied Computer Science.
In an earlier appearance at a Mombasa court, the suspect admitted that he had sent a consignment from China to Somalia but claimed that the items named by the state were not those he had supplied. He however did not disclose the materials that he had delivered.
Documents obtained by Nation revealed he was born in Ganjoni, Mombasa, completed his primary studies at Arya Primary School and later joined Mvita Boys for his secondary school studies.
His academic record showed him to be an average student.
“He travelled to China upon completing his secondary studies in Mombasa. It is unfair, we are worried about his whereabouts and if they believe he has a case to answer then he should be presented before the court,” his uncle, Yusufi Sufi said.
Rights lobby group Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) has since taken up the case.
The group’s Director, Sheikh Khelef Khalifa called upon the Kenyan government to intervene, raising concerns that enforced disappearance is slowly returning.
Mr Abashiekh’s father, Kamal Sufi, said his second-born son was set to marry this month.
“Talks were already ongoing with his suitor's family on when the date of the marriage will officially take place. But everything took a different turn when he got arrested on April 28 at Mama Ngina Waterfront Park in Mombasa by ATPU officers. Since then we have been forced to put a pause on all the wedding preparations,” he said.
The suspect was arraigned in Shanzu Court in May over the alleged shipment of weapons to Mogadishu, Somalia but later released on a bail of Sh1 million.
Since his arrest, he had been reporting to the ATPU offices in Mombasa with the last day being September 4, 2023.
“The next day on September, 5 while coming home from work at 5 pm some men who we believe are security officers wearing civilian clothes picked him up and forced him inside a white Land Cruiser. There were four people inside the car belonging to one of Kamal’s friends. We have not seen him since then until recently when we saw reports that he was arrested in Somalia,” said Mr Sufi.
The family represented by lawyer Jared Magolo has urged for his client to be produced before a court of law.
The Somali’s intelligence wing claimed that he was the mastermind behind a network involved in the illicit procurement of a military container from abroad.
Showing commitment that it was out to deal with terrorism, NISA said that it will go on pursuing individuals who associate themselves with the same and also “advocate for the anti-oppression and violence against the Somali population, both within and beyond our borders.