Two terror suspects arrested during the October 1 raid by a multi-agency security team that led to the killing of three suspected militants had planned to attack Mombasa during the Mashujaa Day celebrations.
According to intelligence obtained by the detectives, the Somali-based militants had also deployed Bakari Chibonja and Athuman Nyae and their accomplices to attack key government installations on October 20.
“It is believed that the suspects are members of Al-Shabaab terrorism group with a wide network of following and is believed to have sent operatives within Mombasa to attack key government installations,” Anti-Terror Police Unit investigator Dickson Indaru said in an affidavit.
The detective said in the affidavit shared with a court that Mr Chibonja is under police radar in the anti-terrorism police database and that it has been revealed he had earlier featured in a terrorism-related incident in Mombasa.
Mr Indaru further told the court that the two suspects are believed to have committed a number of other terrorist acts and harboured the militants who have attacked the country in the past.“Intelligence report shows that the accused persons and others who are still at large were planning a major attack during Mashujaa Day in Mombasa using the assorted weapons recovered from their residence in Dudus,” the investigator said.
State Counsel Erick Masila described as weapons of mass destruction the items the detectives recovered in the premises that were under the care of the two accused persons.
Mr Chibonja and Mr Nyae have pleaded not guilty to three terror-related charges including harbouring terrorists and being members of the militant group.
The charge sheet says that the suspects harboured Swaleh Yusuf, Abdalla, Salama Salim Mohamed and Mkubwa Sadi Ramadhan, who are all now dead, knowing that they were intending to commit a terrorist act.
They are further accused of giving support for the commission of a terrorist act. The state says that the suspects provided accommodation to the dead militants with full knowledge that they were preparing to commit a terrorist act.
When they appeared before Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Rita Amwayi, the two have pleaded not guilty to the offence the State claims they committed on October 1, 2019, in Likoni.
Ramadhan, who was killed during the raid, had been charged with several terror-related offences including being a member of the militant group but was acquitted by the court for lack of evidence.
While urging the court to deny the two suspects bond, Mr Masila said that the police are yet to record statements from key witnesses, some of whom are outside the region, hence releasing the suspects would interfere with the process.
He also explained that the 25 mobile phones and assorted weapons recovered from the suspects have been taken to Nairobi for ballistic analysis as police seek to unearth more suspects.
“The results which will be obtained from the forensic analysis of the items might reveal other suspects who are still at large and if the accused persons are released on bond, they will interfere with investigations,” Mr Masila said.
The prosecutor added that some key witnesses in the case are vulnerable and yet to be admitted into the protection programme by the Witness Protection Agency, hence there is need for the suspects to be detained to allow the witnesses get protected.
“The suspects are within police radar and under investigations for being members of a large international syndicate of organised terrorism groups and are likely to face other related charges in the near future,” the prosecutor said.
The suspects, the prosecutor said, are believed to be engaging in criminal activities, money laundering, the specifics of which may not be disclosed without scuttling investigations.
“There is a reasonable apprehension that if the accused are released on bail, they will jump bail and interfere with the ongoing investigations,” the prosecutor said.
The two are among eight people including two expectant women arrested over links to the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants.
The eight were, however, discharged after the investigators said they found no evidence linking them to the terrorist group and to the assorted weapons recovered.
The case will be mentioned on November 11, 2019.