Kenyan terrorists linked to Mozambique attacks

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021 00:00 |
Internally displaced people from Palma gather in the Pemba Sports Centre to receive humanitarian aid on April 2. They were evacuated from the coasts of Palma after armed insurgents attacked the city on March 24. Photo/AFP

Scores of radicalised Kenyans linked to the deceased Islamic preacher Aboud Rogo Mohammed are among jihadist fighters who have intensified attacks on the Mozambique coastline.

On March 25, hundreds of fighters linked to the Islamist State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were captured as they brutally raided residents of the northern town of Palma.

Some of the victims were pulled out of their lorries, as others were beheaded by the jihadists who have been operating in the southern Africa nation since 2015.

Intelligence reports in Kenya indicate that about three months ago, at least 17 radicalised youth were arrested by Tanzanian authorities while attempting to sneak into Mozambique.

The youth, aged between 12 and 15, had been trained at an institution linked to Rogo in Kenya’s South Coast.

In the March 25 attack in Mozambique, ISIS claimed responsibility through its Amaq News agency and even showed images of its fighters celebrating capture of the town.

Previously unseen pictures of the ISIS massacre, which were released by the group showed bodies, scattered across roads, some without heads, and people fleeing from the slaughter.

In Kenya’s coastal region, detectives are investigating a number of youths who are believed to have received training alongside other ISIS members.

The youths are linked to Asar al-Sunna, a group founded by the late fiery cleric Rogo and which had links to the ISIS terror group and has since pitched tent in the coastal region of Mozambique.

Rogo was shot dead on August 27, 2012, in Mombasa, as he drove his wife to hospital. 

Two of the Kenyan youth have been identified as Salim Rashid and Alfan Ali Juma, who are believed to have sneaked into Mozambique and joined the terror group.

Another suspect, Richard Lazaro Kivatsi, is believed to be holed up in the Kenyan coast and police are keeping a close eye on him as investigations over his terror links continue.

Salim and Alfan sneaked out of the country just days after they were released on bond by the courts and police believe they are fighting in Mozambique.

In the March 25 raid, majority of the victims were rescued by helicopters as they fled the terror, according to reports in the Daily Mail.

Senior officer

Yesterday, a senior police officer in the Coast, who spoke in confidence, revealed that detectives have been trailing some youth linked to the terror group.

“What I can tell you about the matter is that we are aware of some youth who crossed over to Mozambique and in Somalia.

Investigations are ongoing and soon something productive will come out of this,” he said.

Following the Mozambique attack, three members of the British Special Air Service  were dispatched from Kenya to join the search for civilians, including a Briton identified as Philip Mawer, according to Daily Mail. Mawer had been reported missing since he attempted to flee the town of Palma.

The recruiting missions have been so widespread with youth from Tanzania also being targeted by the deadly fighters, according to an earlier police report.

Attacks in Tanzania have been sporadic and less deadly than those in Mozambique where the militants have killed hundreds of people since 2017.

It has also emerged that in 2018, Tanzanian police arrested several terrorists who included Kenyans who had received training in Mozambique. At the time the group’s leaders included one Abu Yassir Hassan.

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