One of Kenya’s most wanted terror suspects is dead. Ms Fatuma Mohamed Masou had a Sh2 million bounty on her head, and was the wife of slain terrorist Kassim Omondi, who was killed by police during a raid in 2013.
On the run since September last year, her body was found in Kedong, near Naivasha, more than a month ago, but the police officers who stumbled upon her remains did not immediately identify her.
Her family did not show up for the brief burial ceremony at Naivasha Muslim cemetery, but instead asked well-wishers to inter her remains.
Police put a bounty on Ms Masou’s head after they accused her of hiding yet another terrorist, Ishmael Shosi, who was killed in September last year during a raid in Mombasa. They believed she was armed, dangerous, and closely linked to jihadist networks in Somalia and the region.
Although she was arrested soon after her husband’s death in 2013, she was released after denying before a magistrate that she had been found in possession of assorted firearms, including two hand grenades and a gun.
And then, about a month ago, police officers stumbled upon two bodies in a field in Kedong, Naivasha.
After finger-print identification, it turned out that the two were some of Kenya’s most wanted fugitives, said local police boss Titus Mathuku.
The other was Farid Omar Awadh, also in the police wanted list.
A Naivasha-based Muslim preacher, Mr Adam Ali Hassan, on Sunday said family members had positively identified the two bodies before burying them at the Naivasha Muslim cemetery.
“The family of Awadh came and positively identified the body,” said Mr Hassan. “We also got in touch with the family of Masou and, after giving them her physical descriptions, they confirmed that she was the one. They have given us the go ahead to bury her.”
As news of her death sunk in on Sunday, police officers said they were also holding two men suspected of being Al-Shabaab militants sent by the terrorist organisation to launch attacks in Kenya during the Easter season.
Juma Mwangoh Athman (24) was arrested Friday evening at his house in Shika Adabu, Likoni after a raid by Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU). Two hand grenades, poaches of an AK47 rifle, a jungle jacket, 10 rounds of ammunition, and one pair of binoculars were found in the house.
Coast regional CID boss Pius Macharia said his officers had been monitoring the suspect for long.
SNEAKING INTO MANDERA
“We are now questioning him to establish whether he has been involved in other terror-related activities,” said Mr Macharia.
The other suspect, Stephen Wagechi, was nabbed while sneaking into Mandera from Bula Hawa in Somalia. He recently converted to Islam and assumed the name Mohammed.
According to police report seen by the Nation, Wagechi was born in Thika and was converted to Islam in 2014 at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology by a Mr Yusuf, who was also a student at the institution. He is expected in court on Tuesday.
The arrests come a day after police released a list of nine suspected terrorists whom they said may either have sneaked into Kenya from Somalia or are in final stages of planning to do so.
WANTED TERROR SUSPECTS
They are Habib Karongo alias Jureyj, Juma Were, Mohamed Tajir, Abdullahi Jarso Kotola, Gufu Tari Gufu, and Ahmed Said Omar. Others are Abubakar Abdikadir Abubakar, Issa Abdalla Kauni, and Fuad Abubakar Manswab.
Manswab is a close associate of one of the Western world’s most wanted terror suspects, Samantha Lewthwaite, and has been on international and local police radar since 2011. He was first arrested alongside British terror suspect Jermaine Grant in December 2011, the same night Ms Lewthwaite escaped a police dragnet in Kisauni, Mombasa.
Reporting by Macharia Mwangi, Mohamed Ahmed, and Fred Mukinda.