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Five Tanzanians, Ugandan arrested while headed for Somalia to join al Shabaab

Friday August 4, 2023

Ugandan Hassan Tourabih Kintosa was among those arrested

Six more foreigners were arrested in Garissa as they sought directions to main Kenya- Somalia border.

The six were headed for Somalia to join the terror group al Shabaab, police said.

Police identified the six as Muhamed Jahad Farah, Saad Suleiman Saleh, Nadrik Mbwana Salum, Abdul Kadir Salum Seif and Ali Issa Ali, all Tanzanian Nationals and Hassan Tourabih Kintosa, a Ugandan National.

Upon interrogation, the six admitted that they were on their way to join al Shabaab after being recruited and facilitated by their handlers from Tanzania and Uganda.

They were arrested in Garissa by security officers who had been tipped off about their presence, officials said.

They were being processed for possible prosecution on Friday.

The arrests come barely two weeks after another arrest of three Tanzanian nationals namely Abdul Saif Salimu, Zuberi Ngare Mtondoo and Seif Abdalla Juma at Korakora, Garissa, after the public reported their presence in the area.  

Officials said two other Tanzanians Abdirahman Shaffi Mkwatili, 25, and Sadam Jafari Kitia, 30, were nabbed on July 12 in the possession of a notebook scribbled in Swahili that they were using to guide their movement from Tanzania to Jilib.

The collaboration between security agencies and the local population in the North has gained traction and the locals are now more open and free to share information with the local authorities.

“Members of the public are encouraged to continue sharing information with relevant security agencies,” said regional commissioner John Otieno.

The residents have also been urged to be vigilant at all times and report to the police any suspicious persons, activities and unattended luggage.

Police said there is a trend that they have noted with recruits travelling to join either al Shabaab or Daesh, that they are provided with travel arrangements avoiding communications while on the way or asking people about the route to avoid raising suspicion.

The security agencies further cautioned Public Service Vehicle operators to be alert and share any information on the movement of suspicious foreigners.

“The ongoing war against terrorism by the security agencies continues to frustrate the recruitment and facilitation of recruits destined to Somalia to join al-Shabaab,” a police report said.

Security agencies have increased their surveillance and investigations that of late has seen swift arrests of youth travelling to join terror groups and cells in Somalia.

Some of the foreigners joining the terror groups are usually used as suicide bombers in various places, officials say.

Kenya has been a victim of such attacks in the past that left many dead.