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Kenyan man surrenders to police, claims to be AlShabaab defector

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - Anti-Terror Police Unit [ATPU] in Nairobi is investigating an alleged Al-Shabaab returnee, who surrendered at a police station.

John Muimi, 23, retreated to Majengo in Nairobi on Monday, before availing himself to Kamkunji police post, police said.

His move comes amid outcry from rights groups, which accuse Kenyan police of executing Al-Shabaab returnees, especially along the coastal strip.

Last week, a middle-aged man, who is said to have returned from Somalia, was shot dead by the police, sparking protests in Kilifi.

Joined Al-Shabaab in 2019

Mr. Muimi, who was born in Samburu, joined the Al-Shabaab last year in June. He said he was taken to Likoni, Mombasa on November 29, 2019.

Afterward, he told the police, he traveled to Mandera and later to Somalia where he was briefly trained and made to take an oath.

Together with him in Somalia, were six other Kenyans who were undergoing training at the interior parts of the Horn of Africa nation, he said.

After training for a month, he managed to escape from the Al-Shabaab camp using the Garissa route, he told the police.

Police investigating his narration

He arrived in Majengo, Nairobi on Monday. Majengo is regarded as a hotbed for terror recruitment and radicalization in the city.

He had two mobile phones and personal clothes. He was handed over to the Anti-Terror Police Unit for debriefing and further interrogation.

“We do not know if he is lying or it is true. We will know with time,” said an officer aware of the incident.

Police are piecing together evidence and confessions from the suspect before deciding the next course of action, authorities said.

Should his narration turn out to be credible, police said, details gathered would help the country in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

Kenya's commitment to crushing Al-Shabaab

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week held a meeting with security chiefs where radicalization of youths dominated the agenda.

A tough-talking president asked the security officers to upscale security in the coastal and northeastern which have been considered recruitment cells.

Uhuru said: "This needs to be sustained this year, in addition to you doing more to make communities feel safe from terrorist intimidation."

This sense of safety and freedom from intimidation or retaliation from the terrorist elements will encourage even more people to speak up and resist the tactics of terrorists,” he added.

Special Forces were deployed to the regions in a bid to neutralize the militants, who have caused havoc in the country.


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