Man arrested while seeking directions to Somalia detained

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Saturday March 9, 2019

A man who was asking for directions to Somalia has been arrested in Mandera on suspicion that he was on his way to join Al-Shabaab militants.

Mr Backstone Agaro, 53, will remain in police custody for seven days as investigations on whether he is linked to terror cells are conducted.

Mandera Resident Magistrate Dancun Mtai allowed the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) to investigate the suspect as they requested in a sworn affidavit.

Mr Elijah Nakeel, an officer attached to ATPU, in a sworn affidavit said they suspect Mr Agaro to be a Shabaab spy.

The suspect was arrested on March 6 after alighting from a bus in Mandera town at about 10pm.

VISITED 100 TOWNS

“The suspect came into Mandera from Garissa aboard a Tawakal company bus and immediately after alighting he inquired for directions to Somalia,” reads the affidavit.

The officer told the court that the suspect was found in possession of a note book in which more than a hundred towns he had visited were listed.

“He did not have a mobile phone which we suspected he hid or [in order to hide his] movements from security agencies,” Mr Nakeel said in the affidavit.

CARPENTER

ATPU maintained the man is suspected to be a Shabaab spy doing surveillance in the region and the country at large to aid the terror cell in carrying out attacks.

In response, Mr Agaro said he was a carpenter who had been invited into Mandera by friends to join them at construction sites.

“I was asking for a place to sleep and not the direction to Somalia because we arrived in town at night and I was new here,” he said.

Mr Agaro, who is from Vihiga County, said his family lives in Nairobi’s Mbotela estate and that he travelled first to Garissa before going to Mandera.

But he could not explain why he had a note book with names of Kenyan towns and places he has visited.

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