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Garissa university raid terrorist dies in Kamiti prison

By Zadock Angira
Monday, November 30th, 2020
Rashid Charles Mbesero. Photo/PD/File
In summary
    • Rashid Charles Mbesero 26, and two other suspects, who were jailed for 41 years each, were convicted over the April 2015 attack that left 150 dead.
    • The university attack was the second deadliest in Kenya after the infamous Al-Qaeda bombing of the US Embassy in 1998.

A Tanzanian who was jailed for life over the Garissa University terror attack committed suicide at the Kamiti Maximum prison.

Rashid Charles Mbesero, 26, and two other suspects, who were jailed for 41 years each, were convicted over the April 2015 attack that left 150 dead.

The National Police and Prisons Service authorities yesterday said the convict is suspected to have committed suicide using a piece of blanket he used in his cell 24 at Block H.

Police said his body was found hanging on the window’s metal grill inside his cell with the piece of blanket tied around his neck minutes after he had died.

The Kamiti Maximum Main Prisons head of security Mark Keitany told People Daily that the incident occurred at about 3pm after the convicts had their last meal of the day.

“We do not know what motivated him to the incident,” he said.

Detectives have launched investigations into the suspected suicide.

The deceased had appealed his sentence and the case was pending at the Milimani Law Courts. 

Police were called to the scene and later transferred his body to the mortuary.

The deceased was on July 3, 2019 alongside two others, convicted over the April 2015 incident. He had denied the charges. 

His co-accused, Hassan Edin and Mohamed Abdi, who are Kenyans were imprisoned for a jail term of 41 years each. They remain incarcerated.

The three had been found guilty of conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack and of belonging to the Al-Shabaab terror group. 

The university attack was the second deadliest in Kenya after the infamous Al-Qaeda bombing of the US embassy in 1998 killed more than 200 people.

Mbesero was then given the longest prison term because he was arrested at the scene of the massacre and could not explain his presence there, the court was told.

The prosecution said during the trial that on the day of the attack – April 2, 2015- he remained in the hostel and could not explain why he was there.

During the attack, the terrorists singled out, and shot Christian students. More than 500 students however managed to escape through the offence. About 80 others were injured in the attack.

Suicide vests

Four gunmen wearing suicide vests were later surrounded and their vests detonated.

The move comes after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP), through Duncan Ondimu, had asked the court for a 60-year sentence for each. “Sixty years will serve Justice.

Though it won’t bring back lives lost, it will go a long way to pass a message that such actions will not go unpunished,” Ondimu told the court.

A total of 22 witnesses, including students who survived the attack, testified against the attackers.

During the defence hearing, the three accused persons opted to remain silent as one of them testified on oath on March 25 last year. Mberesero had represented himself in court.

Phone records and handwriting analysis linked the three to the attack. The suspects were also found to be members of the al Shabaab terror group which had claimed responsibility for the attack. 

The terror group that carried out numerous attacks inside Kenya since 2011, as a retribution for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to counter the al-Qaeda linked fighters.