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October 17, 2018

Al Shabaab seeks Coast Caliphate

Deadly: A woman passes by dead al Shabaab fighters in Mpeketoni on June 15.
Deadly: A woman passes by dead al Shabaab fighters in Mpeketoni on June 15.

THE five Kenyans killed in the raid on the Buare military camp, Lamu, belonged to al Shabaab units that want to set up a Coast region caliphate, the Star has learnt.

The two units, codenamed Jeysh Ayman and Harakat Mujaheed, were established to create hostility and suspicion across ethnic and religious lines and to drive non-Muslims from the region.

According to a leaked Intelligence report, the two groups become active after the 2014 Mpeketoni terrorist attack in Lamu, where more than 100 people were massacred.

Harakat operates from Tanzania while Ayman, or “the faithful”, operates inside Kenya, and was initially headed by Kenyan Luqman Osman Issa, alias Shirwa, who was killed during the botched raid on the military camp in Lamu.

Luqman, who hails from Bondeni, is a graduate of a Ugandan university and a relative of a former Cabinet minister from Northeastern.

A team of detectives last week interrogated his elder brother, Bashir Osman Issa, for hours before releasing him. He was a pupil at Abu Hurerya Primary and joined Abu Hurerya Secondary School in Mombasa.

Luqman worked closely with Hemed, who owned the Marhaba Safari Tours and Travel Company in the Bondeni area of Mombasa.

The report indicates that the two were introduced to the Shabaab group by slain Muslim preacher Abubakar Makaburi and the late Aboud Rogo.

Luqman was recruited to join the Shabaab terror group in 2009 and qualified to head the Jeysh Ayman in 2013 as commander, Coast region, after undergoing vigorous training.

Police claim Hemed also worked with terror suspect Khalid Mohammed Ali to supply food and medicines to al Shabaab militants deep inside the vast Boni Forest.

Ali, an imam at Masjid Mlango wa Papa, is also accused of recruiting and funding youth into al Shabaab in Mombasa.

Other members of the two units are Salim Jamal Mwangi, Omar Omollo Owino and Mubarak Abdi Huka of Marsabit county, Rama Mbwana Mbega of the South Coast, Kwale, Ibrahim Magag of Somali origin from Britain and Abdalla Suleiman Makhutum.

The six remain at large after they managed to escape their botched raid on a military camp in Lamu East.

“They are dangerous groups with wide recruitment of both local and foreign fighters in the country. They continue to pose a security threat, with intent to destabilize the country and the entire region,” says the report.

The NIS claim the group enjoys funding from the proceeds of contraband groups and drugs smuggled through a Somali port controlled by powerful individuals, including prominent politicians in this country.

The report, seen by the Star, indicated the two groups operate in cahoots with locals to orchestrate gruesome killings. They are holed up in Boni Forest, where they are plotting atrocity campaigns.


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