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Kenyans lured to Libya by Isis brought back

NAIROBI – Three Kenyan women who were lured to Libya by the Islamic State two years ago have been brought back after they were arrested in Egypt.

Twenty-nine-year-old Firthoza Ali Ahmed, Ms Aisha Mafudh Ashur, 24, and Ms Tawfiqa Dahir Adan, 24, were arrested by Egyptian authorities in Cairo on August 24.

They were detained for two days and then surrendered to the Kenyan embassy.

After the arrest, the three told interrogators that they had escaped from Libya where an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) operative had held them captive.

“They were arrested on grounds of being in Egypt illegally and without travel documents. They were also asking for directions to the Kenyan embassy,” says a security report on the matter.

It identifies a Ms Umm Mariam, whom the women only knew through chats on Facebook and Twitter.


Before they agreed to leave Kenya, their contact promised to help them get passports and facilitate their journey to Europe, where they would get good-paying jobs.

“They left Kenya separately by bus through Busia, then Kampala, Uganda, and finally Juba, in South Sudan,” says the document.

In Juba, they were under instructions to call a Mr Suleiman, who picked them up from a bus stop and hosted them for a week.

Ms Tawfiqa Dahir Adan

Ms Tawfiqa Dahir Adan one of the three Kenyan women who were lured to Libya by the Islamic State two years ago. PHOTO | Daily Nation

“They found other people who were on the same mission. Suleiman confiscated their travel documents, laptops, phones and other electronic devices. He ordered them not to try to communicate with anyone back at home,” says the security document.


It further says: “Later, they were flown to Awail in South Sudan, where they were put in a house with 30 Somalis awaiting to be trafficked to Libya.

They spent two weeks in Awail, after which they were smuggled through bumpy roads in remote areas and hidden in different houses until they reached Sudan.”

In Sudan, another man, identified as Asad, took over. He hosted them for a month before they were bundled into a pick-up truck and embarked on the journey to Libya, which took them through dusty desert routes.

In the desert, the Magafe network took over.

Earlier reports show it is a smuggling syndicate with contacts in many African countries and works closely with Isis.


“They were ordered into a lorry and driven to a makeshift camp where they put up for several months. Here, the women and other young men were subjected to extreme inhuman conditions. The girls were repeatedly raped and beaten. Sometimes they would stay for days without food and water,” says the latest report.

Ms Aisha Mafudh Ashur

Ms Aisha Mafudh Ashur one of the three Kenyan women who were lured to Libya by the Islamic State two years ago. PHOTO | Daily Nation

The document consists of debriefings conducted on the three women by Kenyan State agencies.

They have been put under a government programme designed to rehabilitate terror suspects either rescued or who have voluntarily surrendered to the authorities.

In Libya, the women told State agents, the Magafe operatives handed them over to two men, Umm Hajiri and Abu Hajir, who are linked to terror operations in Isis strongholds.

According to the document, the three were designated housemaids for two months at the homes of the two men. They were helped to escape by a neighbour who learnt about their ordeal.

In January 2017, they ended up in Benghazi, where they worked at an apartment for $100 (Sh10,000) per month. The Kenyans paid $400 (Sh40,000) to the Taharib network, which smuggled them into Egypt.

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