Top official leads probe on German terrorism suspect

By: ZADOCK ANGIRA

A German security team is set to visit Kenya and Somalia to track down a citizen described as an international terrorist.

The man identified as Mark Schillinger is believed to be funding extremism among East African youths. Communication between Kenya, the German embassy in Nairobi and the Office of the German Defence Attaché, informed Kenya of the visit.

It said a senior official in the German Ministry of Defence, Dr Ralf Brauksiepe, would visit Nairobi and Mogadishu for the investigations.

The team was initially expected in Nairobi on Sunday and Monday, but the embassy Tuesday said the visit had been postponed. No new dates were given.

The head of Press and Cultural Affairs at the German embassy, Mr Martin Falk, said there were problems with the initial date, adding, the new date had not been fixed.

Schillinger is suspected to be operating between Kenya and Somalia under an assumed name.

Anti-terrorism detectives said he had adopted a Somali name and acquired fake identification documents.

A report issued early this month revealed that poverty and lack of jobs among the youth exposed them to radical views and extremism.

GLOBAL MOVEMENT

In his Mashujaa Day speech on Monday, President Kenyatta said the government would crack down on groups and nations found to be funding radicalism. “The threat of terrorists to our democracy is profound,” he said.

“They are part of a networked global movement that even as I speak is destroying lives and entire communities in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. Thousands of foreign fighters are streaming into terrorist campaigns worldwide from even the richest and most advanced democracies”.

He said funding for some institutions would be put under scrutiny to ensure the money they receive was not used to fund terrorism and recruit fighters.

Majengo area and Eastleigh Section III in Nairobi have been identified as the main areas where recruitment is conducted, while South C, also in Nairobi, was used for coordination and financing for the recruitment.

On October 10, the Nation learnt, the German embassy and the Defence Attaché had alerted Kenya of the planned arrival of Dr Brauksiepe. The embassy, however, did not state the mission of the trip.

According to Note Verbale number 334/2014 dated October 10, the first part of the protection team comprising two officers of the ranks of master sergeant together with the State secretary, were to arrive at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Saturday.

The following day, the two officers were to join the protection team in Somalia and fly back to Kenya the same day with the UN Humanitarian Air Service flight.

Although the team would be accompanied by their protection team, they also requested the Kenyan security agencies, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to provide additional security and aid the movement of the delegation.

PERSONAL PROTECTION

The Note Verbale, referring to the earlier trip, read: “During their stay they will fly to Somalia on October 19 for an official visit.

“To secure this high-ranking visit as personal protection, the State Secretary and his delegation will have a protection team with six soldiers.”

Kenya has, in the past year, borne the brunt of low level terrorist attacks during which grenades were hurled at soft targets including a bus stop in Mombasa and the popular Gikomba market in Nairobi.

Two mini buses on the Thika Superhighway were also attacked.

On September 21, last year, Al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the Westgate Shopping Mall attack in which 67 people were killed.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION

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