Spies arrest Somali national living in Kenya suspected of links to al-Shabaab


A man in handcuffs. EACC has arrested two police officers in city extortion ring. 

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A Somali national living in Kenya has been arrested for alleged links to al-Shabaab.

Mohamed Sufyaan Ahmed alias Sufyaan Sheikh Ahmed alias Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed was allegedly picked up from his home in Eastleigh, Nairobi County, earlier this month by men claiming to be police officers.

In a statement, Somalia's intelligence agency, the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), said it had arrested Mr Sufyaan, ending anxiety among his friends and family who had been trying in vain to locate him.

NISA accused Mr Sufyaan of spreading extremist arguments against the peace, stability and governance of Somalia and of supporting al-Shabaab.

The Somali government has recently stopped using the name al-Shabaab and replaced it with Khawaarij. Those who are members of Khawaarij are known as Khajirites and they believe that it is wrong to live among those who do not share their views.

“NISA has started investigations against Mr Sufyaan, a Somali national who resides in Nairobi, Kenya and will grill him regarding the conflicts between the government and al-Shabaab militants. NISA is determined to get hold of all those who interact with the militant group either directly or indirectly,” the Somali intelligence agency said in a statement.

Over the weekend, NISA also claimed to have arrested a Zakariya, a Somali national who went missing on September 5 while trying to seek refuge in an area controlled by al-Shabaab.

Zakariya, who is accused of illegally importing arms into Somalia that were allegedly handed over to al-Shabaab, was abducted by unidentified men who stopped his car near Posta area in Mombasa County.

For more than three weeks, his family and friends have been working round the clock, lobbying both the authorities and members of civil society to help them locate the Somali national.

Following reports that he had been abducted, the Nation exclusively obtained footage showing Zakariya being abducted in broad daylight while stuck in traffic in the Posta area along Makadara Street in Mombasa County.

The video shows more than six well-built men using two unmarked vehicles involved in the abduction, which lasted less than a minute. The abduction was so well planned that even a double-cab pick-up truck was used to prevent members of the public from witnessing the event.

Three men, one wearing a red T-shirt, khaki shorts and black trainers; another wearing a grey cap, jacket, grey jeans and black trainers; and the third wearing a shirt, shorts and dark trainers; are seen jumping out of an armoured classic Toyota Land CruiserJ70 and walking towards a white car driven by Zakariya.

The man in the cap then walks to the driver's door of the car Zakariya was in and opens it before the suspect is seen getting out. Reporters could only see that he was wearing a light green T-shirt. The other, wearing a red T-shirt, goes to the rare side of the vehicle and pretends to open the boot.

The whole scenario is then hidden after the double-cab pickup is parked on the side that Zakariya is driving. Later, they push him into the white Land Cruiser, someone else takes over the wheels of his car and everything goes back to normal.

Following his abduction, the suspect, who was released on Sh1 million bail, failed to appear in Shanzu Court on September 22, 2023.

When he was arraigned in court in May on charges of shipping arms to Mogadishu, Somalia, the Kenyan state expressed concern that the best place for Zakariya to be safe was in custody because of the constant threats he was receiving from unidentified people in his home country.

Last week, the family's lawyer, Jared Magolo, petitioned the High Court in Mombasa to produce the businessman.  He said the family had visited various police stations in the Coast region but had failed to locate him.

“I have made enquiries and visited the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) offices at the regional headquarters but he is nowhere to be found and the officers are not giving any information,” Magolo said in a petition filed before Justice Ann Ong’injo.

The two incidents were condemned by Haki Afrika boss Hussein Khalid, who said the organisation was disturbed by the fact that some al-Shabaab elements were regrouping.

He commended the police for doing a good job in flushing them out, but urged them to follow the law in investigating them.

“We are really concerned with al-Shabaab groupings that are currently taking place in the country, however, we also ask the police to follow the law when investigating such incidents,” said Mr Khalid.