Women linked to Al-Shabaab arrested

Daily Nation

 Al-Shabaab fighters gather in Elasha Biyaha, in the Afgoei Corridor, after a demonstration to support the merger of Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda on February 13, 2012. FILE PHOTO | MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB

Al-Shabaab fighters gather in Elasha Biyaha, in the Afgoei Corridor, after a demonstration to support the merger of Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda on February 13, 2012. FILE PHOTO | MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB |  AFP

Security forces have arrested three young women as they tried to sneak into Somalia allegedly to join Al-Shabaab.

The women, two Kenyans and a Tanzanian, who are said to be students, were apprehended at El Wak on the Kenya-Somalia border, Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa said on Sunday.

Two are aged 21 and the other is 19, according to police. They are the first suspected female Jihadists to be arrested in East Africa trying to cross into Somalia.

One is a student at Mount Kenya University in Thika, Kiambu County, another at Burhania Secondary School in Malindi, Kilifi County and the other is said to be pursuing a degree in Medicine at International University of Africa, Khartoum, police said.

Mr Marwa, who is the Mombasa county security committee chairman, told journalists on Sunday evening that the three were likely on their way to be trained to become suicide bombers.

He said the government had received information about the people involved in their recruitment in Somalia and their accomplices in Kenya.

He said a multi-agency security team had been formed at the county, comprising all security organs including prison wardens, police, the National Intelligence Service and the Kenya Forest Service.

“Their documents say they are students,” Mr Marwa said. “What were they going to do in Somalia?”

HAD BEEN LURED

A source in the intelligence service told the Nation that items found on the women indicated they were going to be married to Al-Shabaab militants and had been lured through social media.

Mr Marwa said the Tanzanian suspect claimed to be a student at the International University of Africa in Khartoum but had no visa to prove the claim.

He said some organisations in Kenya, which he refused to name, were involved in their trafficking.

Meanwhile, Mr Marwa termed the latest travel advisory issued by the UK to its citizens planning to visit Kenya as unfair, saying the government was capable of protecting its citizens and foreigners.

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