Kenya: Terror link as number of missing youth rises

Published: June 25, 2018

Police Spokesman Charles Owino

Police have released photographs of 15 youths that authorities say were lured into joining terror groups. Police also rubbished reports of State-sanctioned enforced disappearances.
The development came even as a family in Malindi demanded to know the whereabouts of their 20-year-old son, who they alleged was kidnapped last Wednesday from his shop.
According to the family, Abdi Mohamed Shide, who runs a shop at Dongo Kundu area of Watamu in Kilifi County, was bundled into a white Toyota Probox by the gun-wielding men, who claimed to be cracking down on illicit sugar.
Mohamed Mahmood Shide, a brother to the victim, said Mr Abdi’s neighbours informed him of the abduction. “They told me that one of the men was wearing police uniform and was armed with a G3 rifle, while the others who were in plain clothes had pistols,” he told The Standard. The family says they learnt that Abdi’s phone was last tracked at Gede area, 10 kilometres from where he had been abducted. Abdi adds to the number of those missing from the region, even as the Government denies knowledge of their whereabouts.
On June 3, residents of Liboi border town in Garissa County held demonstrations to protest against alleged disappearance of 14 people in one year.
Police investigations now reveal that a number of these disappearances are being undertaken by the youth themselves. Police say most of their disappearances are linked to terrorism.
For instance, Faraj Omar, 17, went missing from his home in Ganjoni, Mombasa, prompting his family to blame the police, only for the boy to reappear seven days later. He confessed that he ran away embarrassed for gambling away Sh20,000, which his mother had sent him for his upkeep.
A police report says some teenagers reported as missing have been traced to locations outside the country, with some having been lured to join terrorist groups and others looking for job opportunities there.
In May, two young Kenyans from Garissa County – Abdimahat Farah Dekow and Ayatulla Shukri Ore- both aged 17, were arrested in South Sudan while planning to travel to Libya to join ISIS. They had left the country without informing their parents after being lured by a recruiter based in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate, who had promised them scholarships and a job after their studies.
The two, who were students at Taif High School and Garissa High School, left the country for Uganda last April via the Bungoma-Busia-Mbale-Kampala then to Juba, South Sudan using a truck.
They were apprehended upon arrival in South Sudan and deported back to Kenya on June 1. The boys confessed that they left Kenya in the company of three others, who escaped capture and were believed to have proceeded to Libya.
Just like in Omar’s case, the families of the two teenagers did not know the whereabouts of their children until they were traced to South Sudan after the arrest.
In Wargadud, Wajir County, Abdi Mohammed Gochora and Sadam Aliow Hassan were reported missing from their Manyattas. However, police have established that the two crossed into Somalia to join Al Shabaab. This is after the two communicated with their families from Somalia.
George Ndirangu alias Jaffar Joji, is another Kenyan who left the country to join ISIS in Libya. He is said to have disappeared from Isiolo town last April after lying to his family that he was going to Nairobi to source for supplies for his spare parts and M-Pesa shop in Isiolo. Police spokesman Charles Owino says non-cooperation by family members of terror fugitives is a major impediment to rescuing the youngsters.
Source: The Standard

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