Kenyan police said Monday they are questioning two terror suspects after arresting them in Mandera county near the Somalia border when they were suspected of heading to join Al-Qaida allied Al-Shabaab group in Somalia.
A senior police officer said they believe the two, identified as Suleiman Hemed Mwandilo and Salama Salim Mohamed, who are both Kenyans, are Al-Shabaab recruiters who were arrested while trying to sneak out of the country to join the extremist group.
“The two are being interrogated and will be charged in court once we are through with investigations. They were arrested last week by security officers while trying to sneak out of the country to Somalia,” said the police who declined to be named.
The court had allowed investigators 30 days to complete their investigations. The police said they believe the two suspects are active members in the Al-Shabaab facilitation and recruitment network in the coastal region.
The anti-terrorist police late last year unearthed a syndicate of extremist online recruiters who have been targeting university students and other Kenyans to join armed extremist groups in Somalia, Libya and the Middle East.
The police say the recruiters lure these youths with the promise of well-paying jobs in foreign countries only for the hapless youth to find themselves forcefully recruited into these extremist groups.
The police officer said the two suspects are key Al-Shabaab facilitators and recruiters who were attempting to cross over to Somalia and continue with their recruitment and facilitation of terror activities.
The 37-year-old Mohamed and Mwandilo (39) from Mombasa County were intercepted at a roadblock in Takaba as they were planning to cross over to Somalia through the El-Wak-Boroache route.
Security experts say Kenya has been a soft target for terrorist activities since 1998 and the menace has evolved as radical groups from the Horn of Africa infiltrate the country to kill and maim innocent civilians.
The East African nation has heightened vigilance in the wake of intelligence reports indicating the country is still vulnerable to terror attacks.