Key Al-Shabaab fighter nabbed in Kenyan refugee camp: official
11 March 2016, 15:40
Garissa (Xinhua) - A key Al-Shabaab operative was arrested in northeastern Kenya's Dadaab refugee camps on Friday, barely a day after the Kenyan authorities reiterated the need to close the camps due to security fears.
Northeastern Regional Coordinator Mohamud Saleh said the suspect, a Kenyan from Garissa County bordering Somalia, is a senior Al-Shabaab operative who has been involved in arms trafficking.
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He was arrested by Kenya's multi-agency security team who had been tracking him for sometimes now, said Saleh.
The government administrator added that he is also suspected of involvement in the planning and execution of terror attacks within the refugees camps.
Saleh said the security agents recovered an AK-47 rifle, 19 rounds of ammunition and two magazines from the suspect's hideout, adding that the police are pursuing two other accomplices to the suspect who is on the run.
"The arrest of this key Al-Shabaab operative is a major breakthrough in the fight against terrorism in the country," Saleh told journalists in Garissa town.
The East African nation has for many years generously hosted tens of thousands of Somalis refugees.
Kenyan authorities have said the refugee situation continues to pose security threats to Nairobi and the region apart from the humanitarian crisis.
The arrest comes a day after Saleh told Africa Union Security Council and UNHCR officials that Kenya can no longer host the Somali refugee inside the country due to security fears, and asked them to come with a plan to repatriate the refugees back to Somalia.
Saleh said the refugees have not appreciated Kenya's gesture, and some of them were aiding Al-Shabaab militants in planning and execution of terror attacks from inside the Dadaab refugee camps.
Dadaab refugee camps currently host some 350,000 people, and majority of them are Somalis who have fled a country embroiled in conflict.
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