NAIROBI, August 4 – Kenyan police have circulated two photographs believed to be latest images of East Africa’s most wanted terror suspect-Fazul Abdallah Mohammed.
The photographs were obtained from two passports seized in the weekend raid in Malindi during which Fazul narrowly escaped the police dragnet.
Three of his close associates, including a woman were arrested during the raid and have since been arraigned in court.
They include Ibrahim Mafouth Ashour and Mahfouth Ashour and Mahfouth’s wife Luftia.
The two suspects said to be Fazul’s aides were arrested on Saturday night while mahfouth’s wife was arrested on Sunday.
They were all charged with the offence of being an accessory to fifteen counts of murder by harboring Fazul who is the main suspect.
Mombasa Chief Magistrate Catherine Mwangi ordered that they be remanded in custody until Friday when the court will make a ruling on whether they should be released on bail after the prosecution opposed their release.
Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) urged the court to give them time carry out further investigations.
ATPU Superintendent Dominic Mate who is leading the prosecution told the magistrate that investigators wanted at least four more days to interrogate the suspects.
He said the officer leading the case wanted to ascertain what links the three have with Fazul, who is alleged to be the chief architect of the twin 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
At least 240 people were killed in the attacks.
The suspects are accused of harbouring Fazul even though they were aware that he was also involved in the 2002 bombing of the Israeli owned Paradise Hotel in Kikambala.
Lawyer Abubakar Yusuf who is acting for the three family members challenged the bid by the prosecution to detain his clients until Friday, arguing that it is a violation of their fundamental rights.
The suspects were taken to court under heavy guard by officers from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit following their highly publicised weekend arrests.
They were later taken to unknown destinations after the brief court appearance for further questioning.
A statement issued by Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe late Monday stated that Anti-Terrorism Police had all the reasons to believe that Fazul is holed up in the coast.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, police have reason to believe that the wanted suspect Abdullah Fazul will soon be arrested,” he said.
Kiraithe said security had been beefed up at the Coastal region ‘in search of the wanted fugitive’.
“Kenya Police would want to assure the public that Kenya’s security agents are alert and any terrorism activity will be detected and the suspects dealt with according to the law,’ he said.
The new photographs released by police bore Fazul’s images which detectives said were obtained in Nairobi this February.
Kiraithe said Fazul had been using the two passports in the names of Ali Mohamed Abubakar and Adan Hussein Ali.
“We are not very far from getting him. It is just a matter of time. We highly believe he is in Mombasa,” Kiraithe said.
Each passport bore different birth dates and places.
A police source from the ATPU said more officers were flown to the Coastal region Monday as the hunt for the fugitive intensified.
“Our focus is now in Mombasa, more officers have been sent there and they are already following very crucial leads,” the source said.
He said the hunt for the fugitive commenced a week ago when he was reportedly spotted within Barani area of Malindi district a week ago.