BY MOHAMED AHMED
A close associate of one of the Western world’s most wanted terrorism suspects, Samantha Lewthwaite is among the nine wanted terrorists said to have snuck into the country, or in the process of doing so for a possible attack.
Fuad Abubakar Manswab listed in a police alert shared among security agencies on Thursday has been on both international and local police radar since 2011.
Manswab was first arrested alongside British terror suspect Jermaine Grant in December 2011, the same night Ms Lewthwaite escaped a police unit in Kisauni, Mombasa.
Manswab alongside Grant and two others, was charged in a Mombasa court with being in possession of explosives in a house in Kisauni, as they planned a major terror raid that targeted key installations.
He and Grant were also accused of involvement in a bombing campaign in the coastal city directed by Ikrima al-Muhajir, a Somalia-based al-Shabaab leader who according to intelligence reports has close ties to al-Qaeda.
Grant, a Muslim convert from East London, was convicted on December 2015 on nine charges of trying to fraudulently obtain Kenyan citizenship but is yet to be charged with the terror related offences.
In the case, Manswab jumped bail after he was released on a Sh20 million bond and a year later, survived a shootout with Kenyan authorities in the Majengo neighborhood of Mombasa.
Two others were killed in the confrontation with authorities and a cache of weapons recovered, though Manswab managed to escape by jumping out of a window with bullet wounds in his shoulder.
In 2013, he was reported to have joined Al Shabaab in Somalia and snuck back into Kenya in 2015 where he was planning to establish terror cells in Mombasa and recruit more youth to join the militia group.
In the recent report, police say the nine men have either snuck into the country from Somalia or are in final stages of doing so.
The other suspects mentioned are Habib Karongo alias Jureyi, Juma Were, Mohamed Tajir, Abduallahi Jarso, Gufu Tari Gufu, Abubakar Abdikadir Abubakar, Issa Abdalla Kauni and Ahmed Said Omar.
According to police reports, their plans to strike the country were discovered after some of the suspects contacted their relatives seeking help to access the country after being on the run for years.
Police spokesman George Kinoti asked security agencies in the country to remain alert over possible attacks by the suspects.
“We also ask all Kenyans to be fully conscious of their surroundings and to oblige to security checks in malls, publics services, places of worships, hotels and other public places.
Where laxity is noted, members of the public are urged to bring it to the attention of the concerned security management,” he said.