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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid