Tanzanian Terror Suspect in Kenya Escapes

Tanzanian Terror Suspect in Kenya Escapes

28-year-old Salim Rashid Mohammed alias Chotara, is said to have escaped the police ambush and is suspected of having slipped back into Tanzania through the Lunga Lunga border. Mr Mohammed had, in 2016, been arrested in Mombasa on terror-related allegations and released on bond. He was arrested again in 2017 and charged with terror-related activities. It is said he jumped bail and vanished.

It is also understood that he is linked to Abdulhakim Saggar, a businessman who was arrested by Anti-terrorism Police Unit officers in Mombasa, a fortnight ago. Mr Saggar, it is alleged, was to aid with the foiled Mombasa attack and was to link the terrorists with two other accomplices, who would later conduct the attack planned for August 27.

Mr Saggar was first arrested in 2018 and charged in court with possessing terror-related materials on his phone. His arrest came right after that of one of his employees, putting him on the radar of detectives.

According to Mr Saggar’s family, Alfan Ali Juma was arrested in Mandera in Kenya’s northeast in 2018 and mentioned Mr Saggar to be his employer. Mr Juma was arrested together with another suspect identified as Abdul Satar.

They were later taken to Muthaiga Police Station in Nairobi and presented at a Milimani court and held at Kamiti Prison in Nairobi.

Free bond

Mr Juma was later transferred to Shimo la Tewa Prison in Mombasa and was released on a free bond on condition that he report to the ATPU offices in the Coast region. But he would later go missing. To date, his kin say they have no information about his whereabouts.

In March, and in a different case featuring another suspected terrorist Richard Lazaro Kivatsi arrested in Mombasa, it emerged in court documents that Mr Juma and Mr Rashid had fled to Mozambique. In the case, Kenyan police claimed that a forensic analysis of Kivatsi’s two mobile phones indicated that he had been in close contact with Juma and Rashid, who had fled to the Southern African country to join the IS-linked terror group.

Meanwhile, the Mozambique Islamist group was being headed by, among others, terror suspect Abu Yassir Hassan, who was in 2020 classified among Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) by the US Department of State.

Mr Hassan, a Tanzanian, has been leading the Ahlal-sunnah wa al-Jamaa terror group in Mozambique since October 2017 before it was recently pushed out by Rwandan forces.

Mr Hassan, also known as Abu Qim, led the group that coordinated a series of attacks that led to the seizure of a strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia in Cabo Delgado Province, according to Tanzania media reports.

Two weeks ago, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken added to the list of SDGTs five terrorist leaders operating in Africa: including Bonomade Machude Omar, senior commander of the IS affiliate in Mozambique, and a deputy to Mr Hassan.

“Bonomade Machude Omar, also known as Abu Sulayfa Muhammad and Ibn Omar, leads the Military and External Affairs departments for ISIS-Mozambique. He serves as the senior commander and lead coordinator for all attacks conducted by the group in northern Mozambique, as well as the lead facilitator and communications conduit for the group,” Mr Blinken said, adding that during the March 2021 attack on Palma, Omar led one group of fighters while Mr Hassan, the leader of ISIS-Mozambique, led another group of fighters.

“Omar has been responsible for attacks in Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique, and Mtwara region in Tanzania,” Mr Blinken said.

The US also expanded its list of designated terrorists to include Ali Mohamed Rage alias Ali Dheere, who is al Shabaab’s spokesman and a senior leader of the group. He replaced Sheikh Mukhtar Robowas al-Shabaab’s top spokesman in May 2009. Rage has been involved in attack planning that has targeted areas in Kenya and Somalia.

Also included on the list was Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, also known as Ikrima, a facilitator and operational planner. As of November 2019, Abdikadir was an al Shabaab senior leader and served as the head of operations and logistics.

SOURCE: The East African