Police widen net to Isiolo in search for 14 Riverside attack suspects

Kenyan policemen walk from the scene where explosions and gunshots were heard at the Dusit ...
Kenyan policemen walk from the scene where explosions and gunshots were heard at the Dusit hotel compound in Nairobi, Kenya, January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

The epicenter of investigations into the terror attack at 14 Riverside complex in Nairobi has now shifted to Isiolo County where it is emerging that the planning of the attack took place.

Detectives probing the incident are looking for six men believed to rank high up in an Al-Shabaab sleeper cell operating from Isiolo County.

The suspects believed to have crafted the execution of the 14 Riverside attack include Didu Mohamed Fugicha alias Dingdong, also known as Duktur, Hussein Adan Hussein alias Etto, Gaddafi aka Munene, Abdi Ali Kanchora, Boru Abdi Bidu and Ramadhan Wario Bonaya alias Rasho.

Sources privy to the high level operation to arrest them have told Citizen TV that the suspects are responsible for the formation of one of the most active Al Shabaab recruitment cells in Isiolo formed between May and June 2017.

It is the very sleeper cell that is said to have recruited Ali Salim Gichunge who police say played a major role in the 14 Riverside attack. Gichunge is said to have spent most of his life in Isiolo’s Kula Mawe estate.

Top on the police wanted list is Ibrahim Abdulrahman Mohamed alias Van Persie, who is based in Somalia, Van Parsie is said to be a key recruiter and a facilitator for Isiolo recruits.

He schooled at Isiolo Boys Secondary School and would entice his former schoolmates to join him in Somalia.

His target is said to have been secondary school students in Isiolo and motorbike riders who have continuously gone missing under unclear circumstances. He is said to use money, and a better life for families of recruits as bait.

Police have also established the route taken by youth radicalized and recruited from Isiolo to avoid detection.

They move from Isiolo to Moyale, into Takaba then Elwak in Mandera County before entering Somalia.

In February 2018, security officers intercepted a car in a dry riverbed in Merti, Isiolo County ringed with explosives and an assortment of weaponry.

One Al Shabaab operative was killed and two others arrested after a fire fight with the police. They are said to be part of the Isiolo sleeper cell.

They were headed to Nairobi for an attack which police say would have been the worst terror attack had it not been halted.

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Story By Hassan Mugambi
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