MOMBASA, Kenya, Feb 12 – Seventy men arrested during a raid on a mosque in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa were formally charged Wednesday with being members of Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab rebels, officials said.
Kenyan police raided Mombasa’s Musa mosque on February 2, detaining scores of suspects whom they accused of attending a radicalisation meeting. The raid sparked riots in Mombasa in which three people received stab wounds.
“The suspects were arrested as they planned to perform a terrorist act,” prosecutor Onesmus Towett told the court.
“If released on bond or bail they will further an act of terrorism and there is (an) intelligence report which indicated they were plotting to execute an act of terrorism on unspecified and specified targets,” he added.
The 70 were also charged on six other counts: possession of firearms without a licence, possession of ammunition, incitement to violence, planning to commit a felony, being in possession of illegal material in the shape of Shabaab flags and robbery with violence – on the grounds some men in the group allegedly wrested an assault rifle from a member of the security forces.
The 70 denied all the charges, and the court is set to make its ruling on whether bail will be allowed on February 26, 2014.
Security was tight around the court as hundreds of families and relatives jammed the premises to hear the proceedings.