By KAHONZI KALIWA
Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) in collaboration with other security agents have gunned down a terror suspect at Gasore Village in Matuga Constituency of Kwale County.
The deceased, Juma Athman Mwengo, 37, and his colleague, Nasoro Shauti who managed to escape were cornered in their hideout.
Matuga Subcounty commander Francis Nguli confirmed the incident saying the victim had tried to attack one of the security officers when asked to surrender.
In the ensuing confrontation, Shauti managed to escape through a hole in the house during the melee
The notorious suspect has been on the security radar for over three years and is alleged to be a known recruiter for terror-linked organisations globally.
“Working on a public tip-off, the security agents cornered the two terror suspects in their hideout before hell broke loose,” one of the officers said.
ATPU is a unit within the Directorate of Criminal Investigation mandated to mitigate and investigate terrorism related cases in the country. It was formed in 2003 as a unit based at the Police headquarters to investigate all terrorism matters.
This was after several terror attacks were experienced in the country such as the US Embassy 1998 and the Kikambala 2002 that shifted the line of thought that terrorism is a European problem and phenomenon.
According to Mr Nguli the residents could not identify these suspects because they were operating on and off their hideout.
They used to move from Tiribe in Kwale to Likoni in Mombasa but nyumba kumi elders alerted the security agencies whenever they encountered ‘strange and unpleasant characters’ within their midst.
The commander said they discovered a flag, five pangas and cartridges. “The flag in black was written in Arabic while the pangas were written in white KAFIRI.”
The two suspects, according to him, are believed to be behind a spate of attacks in Likoni Subcounty in 2017.
“The two alongside their friends attacked police station three years ago and went to hiding after police launched a manhunt for them,” he said.
Believed to be a trained ISIS group member in Syria, the deceased on return to the country spearhead the recruitment of youths in Msambweni and Matuga in Kwale and Likoni and Kisauni in Mombasa.
The Matuga boss warned the youths to desist from joining illegal gangs saying the law enforcers were on higher alert and would take action against them.
“The government has launched several projects targeting youths so as to curb the challenge of unemployment. Let’s take advantage of that to earn a decent living rather than put your lives at risk,” he said.
At the same time, he appealed to the members of the public and communities at large to collaborate with the security officers to ensure suspects were brought to book.
“We want our society to be safe so let us not harbour any suspect in our villages instead report to the officers for action to be taken against them for your safety.”
He explained that his officers were on the trail of the escapee from their dragnet and urged the community to alert them when they encountered a suspicious character on the run.
The deceased body was taken to Kwale Hospital mortuary where a postmortem is expected to be conducted.
Edited by Mwakera Mwajefa