Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Somali terrorist may be in Uganda

By Steven Candia
Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A terror suspect who disappeared from Police custody in the Kenyan border town of Busia over a week ago is believed to have fled to Uganda, The Daily Nation of Kenya reported.

Hashi Hussein Farah, who holds an Australian passport, is alleged to have links with the al Shabaab rebels in Somalia and Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda.

Three Kenyan police officers have since been suspended and two businessmen, who had visited the suspect, were charged with helping him escape, according to media reports.

“I can confirm that the two people were charged in a Busia court on Monday in relation to the escape of the man identified as Hussein Hashi Farah,” Kenya’s deputy police spokesman, Charles Owino, told Reuters.

The police officers who were on duty at the time the terror suspect disappeared from custody are still under investigation.
The terror suspect reportedly claimed that he was asthmatic and was put in an isolated room where he met the two businessmen, who had brought him food.

The police found Farah missing when they went to fetch him so he could be transferred to Nairobi for interrogation by anti-terrorism unit officers.

However, Kenyan police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told the BBC that the suspect was released because the police officers mistakenly believed that he was just an illegal immigrant.
Kiraithe said officials checking his details found him on an international terrorism watch list.

“I think there was an oversight. He was handed over to the ordinary duty policemen and they were not given the full information,” he told BBC Focus on Africa. Farah apparently then reassured the police that he would appear in court for an immigration hearing, and was set free.

Kiraithe admitted it was highly embarrassing for the Kenyan police, but said no foreign governments had yet complained over the matter.

The suspect, who is said to be of Somali origin, was detained while crossing the border into Kenya from Uganda on March 13.

At the time of his arrest, he had a sh7m bounty on him. He is wanted for planning an attack in Australia in 2009.

Last year, a group of ethnic Somalis were arrested in Melbourne amid reports they had links to the Islamist rebel group al-Shabab and were planning attacks in Australia.

Ugandan security personnel could not readily comment on the matter.

Police chief Kale Kayihura yesterday said he had not received any reports about the man’s presence in Uganda.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye yesterday said the name was familiar but he needed to cross check.

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