Saudi Arabia embassy seeks release of suspected Al Shabaab recruiter arrested in Lamu
Kenya: The Saudi Arabia Embassy in Kenya is seeking the release of its national who was arrested recently by police in Lamu on allegations of attempting to cross into Somalia to join Al Shabaab.
Saudi Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Barnawi, who flew to Mombasa to secure the release of Ahmed Hanas, said the detainee has no links with the Somali rebel group. Hanas is being held in Mombasa by police after being arrested in Lamu on Thursday.
“This gentleman is a student in Holland who came to the country as a tourist. He was arrested in his hotel room in Lamu where he had gone to visit and not near the Somali border as the police claim,” he said.
Police in Lamu County had claimed that Hanas was arrested in Kiunga, which is the border town between Kenya and Somalia and accused him of being an Al Shabaab member and recruiter.
The envoy added: “As a tourist, he has the right to visit Lamu, which is an attractive tourist site on the world map. It is unfair to accuse someone of terrorism simply because he is an arab.”
Barnawi said that the individual had arrived in the country on Tuesday using a tourist visa, being his first visit to Kenya.
He denied reports attributed to Lamu police boss Samson Obara, who allegedly that the individual had no travel documents and had difficulty communicating in English.
“As a matter of fact, he had all his travel documents in order and speaks English fluently together with Dutch and Arabic. Police should not be quick to accuse people of being terrorists before conducting thorough investigations,” he said
Obara had said Hanas is suspected to be a link man for the regional Al Shabaab network and is responsible funding and recruiting local and foreign fighters.
“Our intelligence believe that the man is associated with illegal activities including terrorism. He will be arraigned in court once we are done with interrogating him,” said Obara.