Key Riverside terror suspect Ali Gichunge, his mother and girlfriend arrested

The Kenya Army at 14 Riverside, Nairobi on January 14, 2019. Photo/REUTERS
The Kenya Army at 14 Riverside, Nairobi on January 14, 2019. Photo/REUTERS

Detectives are interrogating 9 suspects, among them the mother to a top terror suspect arrested in connection with the 14 Riverside terror attack that has claimed 21 lives so far.

Investigators handling the matter have intensified the search for planners and executors of the horrific dusitD2 terror attack that has yet again left the country in shock, with reality of the mutating face of terrorism dawning.

Citizen TV has learnt that investigators pounced on Sakina Mariam, popularly known as ‘Mama Ali’ at Waso village, in Isiolo County and drove her to Nairobi for questioning.

Mariam, is the mother to Ali Salim Gichunge, the man said to be behind the dusitD2 attack and who sources say is in police custody after the Tuesday afternoon attack.

She separated with Gichunge’s father, who is a military officer, attached to the 78 barracks in Isiolo.

Detectives are also in pursuit of Mariam Abdi, who is alleged to have ferried the weapons used by the attackers. Mariam, a resident of Bondeni in Mombasa County has not been to her home since Sunday, with neighbours unaware of her wheareabouts.

Investigators were closing on her, for transporting the deadly arms sourced from Somalia to Nairobi through Lamu and Mombasa.

Detectives conducted an early morning raid at Ushirika estate and arrested one man, said to be a key ally of the dusitD2 attackers. His constant communication with the attackers, as outlined in the phone call logs making him a person on interest, according to police sources.

Another suspect was arrested at the Two Rivers mall, while having a meal at a restaurant, after his mobile phone number was tracked.

Another suspect was apprehended at a restaurant along Kimathi Street, in the city centre, with detectives disclosing that he was in communication with the terrorists before and during the attack.

Violet Kemunto, the woman who was living with Gichunge at Guango estate, Muchatha in Kiambu County remains in custody.

She graduated with a  Journalism degree from Masinde Muliro University in 2014 and was an accredited scribe by the Media Council of Kenya.

Detectives say she has been living with Gichunge for about a year, and was referring to herself as an ‘Alshabaab bride’.

At the heart of the probe is CCTV footage captured along Limuru Road, Uhuru Highway and Chiromo Road before and during the Tuesday terror attack.

Police sources disclosing that the terrorists, in a group of 7, had lunch at an eatery located at a petrol station along Limuru road, and thereafter, 5 of the men boarded the vehicle, a Toyota Ractis KCN 340E, and headed to the scene of terror attack.

Two of the remaining men are on police radar.

And the effects of the Tuesday attack could have been more devastating, were it not for the swift and methodical intervention of the security forces.

On Thursday, specialised officers detonated 4 grenades that had been laid by the attackers around the Dusit complex. The vehicle that the attackers used to access the scene was also dusted by local and foreign detectives to gather more evidence, before it was moved.

Detectives say the dusitD2 terror attack investigations will be intelligence-led, with all possible angles explored to nab as many suspects as possible.

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Story By Francis Gachuri
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