BY CALVIN ONSARIGO
Somalilandsun – A special unit has been set up to investigate leaders suspected to be funding extremist Muslim youths implicated in several terror attacks in Kenya.
Reliable sources told the Star that the team of officers from the Special Crime Prevention Unit has been dispatched to probe prominent businessmen in Mombasa suspected of funding and recruiting the Muslim youths who are later radicalised.
The team was formed after a directive from the government following a spate of recruitment of mainly new Muslim converts to the al Shabaab militant group.
A senior Anti-Terror Police Unit officer said two prominent Mombasa businessmen are under police surveillance.”They are suspected to be al Shabaab sympathisers who fund youths to cause chaos in Mombasa and South Coast,” said the officer.
On December 24, Modern Coast Bus Services managing director Shahid Butt and Abdulaziz Ahmed were arrested for allegedly funding radical youths and incitement.
The two denied the charges before Mombasa senior resident magistrate Richard Odenyo through their lawyers Ngachaku Gakui and Elijah Waithera. Police said the youths are suspected to be behind a grenade attack at a popular club in Diani on Thursday. At least 10 people were injured in the attack.
Officers leading the investigation said a China-made hand grenade was hurled at Tandoori bar at around 3am by assailants who fled on a motorbike.
Head of ATPU Bonfinace Mwaniki yesterday told the Star that security agencies are working together to deal with Muslim youth believed to be behind crime in Mombasa.
“We are making efforts to deal decisively with terror threats in the region and the country but we need more concerted efforts from the community,” he said.
Acting police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi said various security units have set up elaborate measures to pre-empt attacks. Mwinyi said the government has launched campaigns to sensitise youths indoctrinated through extremist sermons by some Muslim clerics in mosques.
“We are aware of the effects posed by extremist youths who easily fall prey to radicalisation due to their vulnerability hence the need to dialogue with them and Muslim leadership,” he said.
Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said police have begun monitoring radicalised youths who are believed to be behind the killing of Muslims clerics and their Christian counterparts around the country.
Radical Muslim youths, believed to be from Musa Mosque associated with slain Sheikh Aboud Rogo, had late last year been accused of being behind forceful takeovers of mosques.
The youths took over Sakina and Liwatoni mosques in Majenga and Ganjoni areas in Mombasa. They also tried to take over Umar bin Khatab Mosque in Kisauni and another in Likoni.
Deputy President William Ruto last week said the government is keen to ensure no more youths are radicalised in the country. He said the government is putting up measures to deal with those behind the radicalisation of Muslim youths.