News / Africa

Former al-Shabab Member to Testify Against Alleged Recruiter

Jeronimo Lokolonyei Lorinyok, 51 - also known as Maalim Yusuf - a preacher, and a trainee with terror group in Somalia, said he was recruited by a terror suspect in police custody, Mombasa, Kenya, October 2013. (M. Yusuf/VOA)
Jeronimo Lokolonyei Lorinyok, 51 - also known as Maalim Yusuf - a preacher, and a trainee with terror group in Somalia, said he was recruited by a terror suspect in police custody, Mombasa, Kenya, October 2013. (M. Yusuf/VOA)
— Kenya's anti-terror police have carried out dozens of arrests in the last few weeks, targeting suspects in the coastal city of Mombasa. One man allegedly trained by the Somali militant group al-Shabab is ready to testify in court against an accused recruiter.

On October 10, police raided the house of Swaleh Abdallah Said in Mombasa, Kenya's second largest city. According to the police, they found a grenade at his place. Said was arraigned in court the following day.

Fifty-one-year-old Jeronimo Lokolonyei Lorinyok, also known as Maalim Yusuf, is a Muslim convert and a preacher.  

Yusuf said that Said, using a different name, recruited him and eight other Muslim converts for al-Shabab in 2004, in the coastal town of Lamu. “One man approached us and introduced himself and told us to go with him and preach in Somalia," he said. "The man's name was Issa Ahmed Said. Then nine of us left for Somalia. He took us for religious purpose and to preach peace. When we got there it wasn’t about religion and peace.”

U.N. reports have put the number of Kenyan youths recruited for al-Shabab at more than 500.

According to Yusuf, Said had a lot of money. Yusuf said he and the other converts initially thought Said was a good Muslim, but changed their mind when Said told them that there is nothing to preach, there is only jihad, and they have would have to fight for Islamist terror cells in Somalia.

Kenya security forces have charged Said with possession of weapons - a charge he denies. His wife, speaking to local media, said she didn't know the kind of work her husband was doing, but denied he is a terrorist or involved in terror activities.

Police have asked for more time to continue their investigation.

One human rights activist, who visited Said in jail and also his family, told VOA the suspect had multiple identification documents, with different names from different countries.

Yusuf said the suspect has a Kenyan national identification card and a Tanzanian passport.

He also alleges Said is an al-Shabab member who ranks high in the group when it comes to terror activities.

“He knows very well [about the group]; he is the one who taught me how to use G3 [rifle]. They told us there was no government [in Somalia] and everyone should have a gun. We went to a camp and we took guns, we even know how to use and throw grenades. We were also told and taught to hate non-Muslims,” said Yusuf.

The Muslim preacher said four of his colleagues died in Somalia. He said Said killed one during a disagreement, and killed three others - one by beheading - when they asked for their pay.

After 28 days in Somalia, Yusuf and the other four recruits decided to run away. It took them days to get back to the Kenyan border.

Sheikh Juma Ngao, the chairman of Kenya’s Muslim National Advisory Council, said al-Shabab is taking advantage of the poverty and lack of proper education in Kenya to recruit youths.

“My request to the Kenyan government they should create job opportunities to the youths. If our youths shall get employed I think the number of youths who are interested to go to Somalia shall go down,” said Ngao.

Yusuf said he is ready to help the police with their investigation and to get justice for his colleagues.

Because he fears reprisals from al-Shabab and their sympathizers, Yusuf is in hiding and lives with a Christian family, where for now, he feels safe.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 01, 2013 1:54 PM
He should convert outrightly, seeing the difference between them. He should not waste time. But from where does all the money these rogues use come from? I should believe there is good penalty awaiting for the recruiter in Kenya when convicted. Education or no education, who is bad is bad and who is good is good. Both good and bad are intrinsic, they are never taught. That is why terrorists should be eliminated if they find their job a juggernaut; because retaining them is a waste of scarce resources. This does not preclude the request for enhancement of education in Africa, which at the moment is very low in most places, especially with political office holders sending their children and wards to the West with ill-gotten wealth while using the youth (shaabab, boko haram) to foment trouble at home; when their own children are away to safety.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid