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Police launch manhunt for 300 Al-Shabaab returnees

21 April 2015, 08:14

Kwale - Police confirmed on Monday a major manhunt for the pursuit of more than 300 Al-Shabaab returnees who sneaked into the country from Somalia.

The security officers said the returnees are allegedly hiding in Mombasa, Kwale, Lamu and Malindi after completing their graduation in training camps in Somalia.

Kwale County has the highest number of returnees numbering more than 200 while Mombasa has 50, according police statistics released by National Intelligence Unit.

A senior security official said hundreds of Kenyans have escaped from Somalia while others could be part of gang plotting a series of terror attacks in the country.

They fled from Somalia following intensive bombardment and liberation of key towns in southern Somalia by African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM).

"We have intelligence reports that some have escaped from the Al-Shabaab, and few are returnees who had arrived into the coastal region to plot more terrorist attacks," said the officer who spoke on anonymity.

The youth sneaked back into the country through the porous Kenya-Somalia border and are being harbored by their relatives and families.

Recently a team from Special Crime Prevention Unit gunned down two of the gang members and recovered two pistols with 16 rounds of ammunition recovered in Diani Kwale.

Also read: Al Shabaab financier jailed

The two Alfan Said Mwamtaka and Hamisi Shabaan Kulunda were gunned down after a fierce shootout just a week after they returned from Somalia.

Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa told journalists in Mombasa there will be no victimization of the youth who surrender within the grace period.

Marwa said he has received information from the local administration, chiefs and village elders in the region, saying that some youth are ready to surrender.

The government has issued a 10-day amnesty to Al-Shabaab returnees to surrender.

National Police Service has mounted billboards of eight wanted terror suspects along Avenues in Mombasa.

The suspects include Mohamed Abubakar Mohamed, Suleiman Mohamed Awadh, Mahir Khalid Riziki, Abdifatah Abubakar Abdi alias Musa Muhajir and Hamisi Mwacheti aka Rasta aka Bilal.

The others are Muumin Abdhalla Muumin, Abdhall Salim Marumu and one whose name is unknown.

A 21,500 U.S. dollars bounty has been placed on each of the suspects believed to have sneaked in from Somalia.

Poor and disgruntled Kenyan youth who joined Al Shabaab in recent years have carried out a spate of terrorist activities in Nairobi, the country's coast and northeastern region.

"We are on high alert of possible attacks by these returnees but we are monitoring their movement to help us thwart the attacks, " said another police officer.

Analysts say the returnees could pose a huge threat at a time when most schools have closed and the youth are at a greater risk of joining radicalization groups.

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- Xinhua


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