, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29 – The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) plans to arraign five suspects in court soon over their alleged involvement in the September 21 terror attack at the Westgate mall.
The Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro said on Tuesday that they had planned to charge the five on Monday but held back after coming into possession of new evidence.
“There was a new development and we sought for some few days to sit with them in order to analyse some SMS messages that we thought the attackers were making or doing,” he said.
Muhoro told Capital FM News that the text messages were written in the Somali language and that his officers were translating them for the benefit of the court.
They were however able to establish, he said, that the suspects were in communication with the Westgate terrorists up to four days before the attack. “There was some communication that was activated between 17th up to the time of attack.”
The suspects, Muhoro told Capital FM News, were arrested as they allegedly hid in the northern refugee camps that include Dadaab – the largest of its kind in the world.
And the connection the police have made between the refugee camps and the Westgate terror attack will undoubtedly reignite debate as to whether they should continue to operate.
Muhoro himself admitted that Kenya’s porous border with Somalia was proving to be a liability especially where terror activity and proliferation of small arms is concerned.
After the attack, a section of Members of Parliament had called for the complete closure of the camps as the government worked toward repatriation of the Somali community housed in the camps.
The fact that the suspects exchanged text messages with the Westgate terrorists also reintroduces the subject of SIM card registration.
The CID had earlier in the month subjected the heads of three mobile phone operators to interrogation following reports that the Westgate terrorists used unregistered SIM cards to communicate.
Legislation implemented a year ago required the operators to switch off all unregistered SIM cards in order to avoid the kind of crime evidenced by the Westgate attack.