Kenya, DRC enter deal on terror suspect
Kenyan authorities have now entered into an agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government to allow terror suspect Salim Rashid Mohammed to undergo trial for the murder of a Congolese soldier.
In the new development, Interpol counter terrorism border operations has advised anti-terror police unit drawn from Mombasa and Nairobi alongside officers from the Directorate of Criminal investigations (DCI) to travel to Congo to interrogate and record statements from Mohammed also known as Chotara.
The team will establish his terrorism links, networks and connections within East Africa, West Africa and Syria since during his arrest in January this year, it was believed that he was headed to South Africa to extend his terror activities through a contact in South Africa.
According to correspondence between the Kenyan authorities and Interpol cross border, Kenya had sought to have the fugitive handed over to the government, to facilitate completion of several cases related to terrorism activities in the country.
The cases are pending before Mombasa, and Kwale after he absconded court, following his release on bond last year in August.
The Kenyan government had sought to have the suspect, extradited to the country to enable the authorities gather more information, in relation to his terrorism activities and his accomplishes who are still at large.
Mohammed came into the limelight in January this year, after a video of him emerged on social media, where he was captured butchering a Congolese soldier.
During his arrest in Congo, he was fighting for the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) which has been in operation since 1996. The group is responsible for hundreds of deaths of civilians and soldiers in both Uganda and Congo. He is being held incommunicado at the Goma Prison in Eastern Congo.
“There is ongoing communication on how to handle the extradition matter. Since he is facing murder charges in Congo, if found guilty he will be sentenced in accordance with the Congolese law; either by being beheaded or serve life imprisonment,” said a senior officer privy to the ongoing investigations.
He added: “As at now, there is no hope of him ever returning back to the country since he has to answer to offenses he committed back in Congo. However our interest as of now is to gather information from him on his terrorism operations touching on our country in the ongoing investigations.”
Mohammed had been arrested by antiterrorism police in June 2019 at Moi International Airport, Mombasa while trying to flee the country; he was facing charges of being in possession of terrorism materials in Kwale county, Ngomeni area.
It has since been established that a bond of Sh1.5 million that facilitated his release by Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Rita Amwayi, was paid by his associate in Uganda.
According to court documents, the suspect had attended court while out on bond until October last year, when he disappeared, through Uganda to DRC Congo, and had a brief stay in Mozambique where he fought for Al-Qaeda.
The court issued a warrant of arrest against the suspect after the prosecution moved the court seeking that he be arrested for absconding trial.
The 27-year-old in court documents has been identified as a leader of ISIS; who is in communication with another suspected terrorist named Richard Lazarus Kivatsi who has since been arrested.
In 2018, Mohammed he was deported from Turkey, where he had enrolled to study computer engineering at Istanbul Kultur University in Turkey after he attempted to cross over to Syria.
He alongside Nasra Hyder Faiz were charged before Shanzu Law Courts in Mombasa before then Principal Magistrate Diana Mochache. The duo was acquitted in 2019 due to lack of evidence.
According to the court file, the suspects were in November 2016 arrested as they crossed over the border to Syria, and in February 2018 upon completion of investigations in Turkey they were deported and handed over to authorities.
However Turkish authorities did not avail documentary evidence in court nor appear in person, to testify in the matter where he had been deported and put on red alert after he attempted to cross over to Syria.