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Suspected Somali Islamist Financier Pleads Guilty to Entering Kenya Illegally


A Somali businessman suspected of financing the country's ousted Islamist movement has pleaded guilty to being in Kenya illegally.

Abukar Omar Aden appeared in a Nairobi court Thursday with his son. The two were arrested earlier this month as they attempted to cross into Kenya from Somalia.

Through his lawyer, Aden argued that he should be given protection of the law because he was fleeing for his life. His son argued he had a visa and was in the country legally.

The wheelchair-bound Aden is believed to have been a major source of funding for the Islamic Courts Union. Militias loyal to the union took over much of central and southern Somalia last year and imposed a strict form of sharia law in areas under their control.

Forces from Somalia's transitional government and Ethiopian troops pushed the Islamists from their strongholds in a December offensive.

Aden is the former owner of the Ramadan Hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and ran the El-Maan port there as well. He and his son are scheduled to be back in court Monday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.