Westgate attackers arrived via Uganda, court told, fifth suspect still missing

Terrorists behind the 2013 Westgate Mall attack had a common trail from Uganda to Nairobi through Malaba, a key witness told a court on Tuesday.

Surveillance footage aired in court showed an analysis of their movements, pointing out various stop points en route to the upmarket mall.

The witness, a criminal analyst based at the CID, further revealed that suspects in the case communicated more than 300 times with the attackers, before and after the incident.

The mall was raided on September 21 in what ended up being a four-day siege. At least 67 people were killed and many wounded.

The analyst linked various mobile data records and satellite networks to four suspects in the case.

Mohammed Adi, Liban Omar, Adan Adan and Hussein Mustafa are facing charges related to various counts of terrorism .

The witness said fifth suspect Abdikadir Mohammed, who was involved in hiring vehicle KAS 575X used to drop attackers at the mall, was still missing.

Mohammed, is a Kenyan from Mandera who is married to Zuleikha Hussein from Mombasa.

CID analyst further said in his report that the suspects’ telephone lines were registered but under fake identities.

The hearing will continue on September 15.

Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants said they carried out the attack in retaliation for the presence of Kenya Defence Forces troops in Somalia.

The soldiers are part of the African Union peacekeeping force that intends to stabilise the country and restore peace.

Several leaders have called for the withdrawal of the Kenyan troops but President Uhuru Kenyatta has maintained that they will remain in Somalia until the mission is accomplished.

Al Shabaab has repeatedly threatened more attacks on Kenyan soil if the country does not withdraw its troops.

To mark the anniversary of the attack, the militants said they would publish a series of articles titled “The Westgate attack and the Wicked Position of Evil Scholars” to show the significance of the strike.

A poll by Ipsos showed most Kenyans want the soldiers to leave the neighboring Horn of African nation. Just 19 per cent of those surveyed thought Kenyan troops should stay in Somalia as they are.

The rest were divided as to whether the Kenyan soldiers should come home unconditionally, move back just to protect the Kenyan border or only leave Somalia when other African troops can replace them.

Kenyan troops first launched an incursion against al Shabaab in October 2011, accusing them of raids inside Kenya, and eventually seized control of the southern port of Kismayu.

©The Star

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