Five Kenyan youths from the coastal city of Mombasa who were due to join the militant group Al-Shabaab in Somalia have been arrested in as the East African country tightens security following a mall attack in the capital Nairobi.
Multiple police sources confirmed Sunday that the five who hail from Kisauni and Majengo residential areas were arrested in Kismayo by the Somali authority and handed over to Kenya security agencies in Garrisa town.
Garrisa divisional police commander Benjamin Ongo’mbe confirmed the arrest, but refused to divulge more information about the suspects.
“We have the suspects in custody but we are still deliberating on the next action to be taken against them,” Ongombe told Xinhua on phone.
Police have identified one the suspects as Khalifa Mohammed Khalifa from Magogoni area in Kisauni district.
A family member of one the suspects who sought anonymity said their son disappeared two weeks ago, after he was allegedly “brainwashed and recruited to Al-Shabaab” at mosque in Majengo area Mombasa.
“We have been informed that he was among the five arrested and currently held at Garrisa prison we are making arrangement travel and see them he started attending prayers two months ago with his colleagues,” he said.
The five had no valid documents to be in Somalia. Further reports indicate the family had unsuccessful informed a human right group in Mombasa about his disappearance but we directed to report to security agencies but feared for being victimized.
According to police sources, the suspects in their early 20s are among hundreds of youths who cross the border to join Al- Shabaab in Somalia.
Mombasa Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Commandant Henry Ondiek said several suspects have been arrested and interrogated in connection with Saturday’s attack.
“We will not name the places but we have deployed security officers to the targets and increased security patrols to counter the plans,” Ondiek said.