Kenya’s terror export: Rashid Salim Mohammed whereabouts remain a mystery 

Salim Mohamed Rashid when he appeared before a Mombasa Court

Salim Mohamed Rashid when he appeared before a Mombasa Court on June 6, 2019. He is accused of being a member of the Al-Shabaab terror group.

Photo credit: Brian Ocharo | Nation Media Group

The family of Rashid Salim Mohamed is still in the dark about his whereabouts a year after he was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on suspicion of having ties to terrorism.

Security officials claimed that Mr Salim was a suspected terrorist who had fled to Mozambique to join a global terrorist group that was actively engaged in fighting there.

The Nation has established that his family has yet to hear from the government with regard to his arrest and what happened to him afterward.

The family had hoped that Mr Salim would be returned to the country to face the pending terrorism charges at Mombasa Court

His advocate, Yusuf Aboubakar, had earlier said that the family is yet to know where their son is since he was arrested several months ago.

The advocate bemoaned that the arrest of Mr Salim in the DRC and the subsequent silence for a full year had called into question the Kenyan government's responsibility to see to it that its citizens are tried in accordance with their country's legal system.

In an earlier interview with the Nation, Mr Aboubakar disclosed that since the suspect was arrested in January of last year, he has pursued the matter with the ministry of foreign affairs and contacted INTERPOL, but his efforts have been in vain.

Mr Salim was arrested in January of last year while en route to South Africa. At the time, he had a Sh10 million bounty on his head.

Beheading video

Prior to his dramatic arrest, the suspect was last captured in an undated video showing a person suspected to be him beheading an alleged Isis traitor.

The suspected terrorists are seen with a machete in the nearly five-minute-long video, shouting in Swahili and Arabic that traitors must be killed. They were all dressed in military uniforms and armed with machetes and rifles.

The 28-year-old fled Kenya in 2019 after failing to appear in court for a terror-related charge.

He was accused, along with others still at large, of belonging to the Al-Shabaab terror group.

Mr Salim is also accused of having items used to make improvised explosive devices in his possession.

According to the charge sheet, the suspect was found in possession of twin stranded wires, batteries connected in series using a piece of cardboard fastened with an elastic string, inductor coils, black particles, and white explosive powder—all of which are components of improvised explosive devices used in terrorism.

He denied committing the crimes that the state claims he did on March 8 in Ngomeni, Kwale County. He was given a Sh1.5 million bond with one similar surety of a similar amount, which he obtained.

Before vanishing into thin air in October 2020, Mr Salim briefly attended the court.

Before this, in 2017, Mr Salim had been expelled from Turkey and accused of crimes related to terrorism before a Shanzu court.

He had travelled to Turkey to study computer engineering at Istanbul Kultur University but was deported to Kenya when he was discovered crossing the border into Syria to allegedly join the Isis terror group.

Mr Salim was found not guilty after a two-year trial due to a lack of evidence, only to be arrested again in 2019 at the Moi International Airport on suspicion of having ties to terrorism.

According to Kenyan authorities, Mr Salim is an Al Shabaab member who was on his way to join the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) when he was intercepted by Anti-Terror Police Unit officers.

At least eight witnesses had testified in the case as of the time of his disappearance in October 2020.

Mr Salim made headlines yet again on January 28, last year, when he was arrested and detained by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), who suspected him of being a member of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

He was apprehended in Beni, a city in northeastern DRC bordering the Virunga National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains to the west.

His arrest was the last thing his family heard about him.
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