, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – A magistrate has been asked to place five persons accused of planning the Garissa University terror attack more than three years ago on their defence.
In submissions before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi, prosecution counsel Carole Sigei said the five accused conspired to commit the attack in which 150 people, mainly students, were killed.
She said data and communication retrieved from mobile phones seized from Mohamed Ali Abdikar, Hassan Aden Hassan, Sahal Diriye, Osman Abdi and Rashid Charles Mberesero, showed that they were in constant communication with the four terrorists who staged the attack.
The five have denied a total of 156 counts over the attack at Garissa University on the morning of April 2, 2015.
The charges include the killing of 150 people, conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, committing a terrorist act, being members of a terrorist group.
Mberesero, a Tanzanian, faces a further charge of being in Kenya unlawfully.
Sigei told the court that there was both circumstantial and direct evidence linking the five to the attack.
She said a number of witnesses who testified saw some of the accused persons while intelligence officers were able to trace them to Mandera, a few days after the attack.
Osman was an employee at the university.
A witness, Kolombo Adao, a muezzin, told the court Mberesero came to the mosque a few days before the attack and appeared like a man on a journey.
The court was told that the accused person arrived with a bag and used to sleep in the mosque.
He said unlike other persons, Mberesero was learned and keen to know more about the Quran.
He said Mberesero did not participate in the prayers on the day of the attack but left the mosque in a hurry never to return.
He left his bag behind and it was taken by police a few days later. The bag had what appeared to be a farewell letter, saying that death was imminent.
On his part, defence lawyer Mbugua Mureithi said the prosecution had not discharged the burden because there was nothing linking any of the accused persons to the attack.
He said the police did not say how the suspects were arrested, some 700 kilometres away and linked them to the attack.
The lawyer said the only link the prosecution had on them to the attack was their mobile phones.
“It is now becoming dangerous to own a mobile phone in this country,” he argued.
Andayi will give his ruling whether they have a case to answer on January 23.
The suspects are being held at Kamiti Maximum Prison after they were denied bond.