A court in Kwale has allowed the Anti Terror Police unit to hold 17 suspected al Shabaab members for a week.
The youths, among them two women, have been charged with being recruits of a terrorist group and being in possession of counterfeits.
The suspects are Nuru Sofia Alamini, Wilfred Mandisa Ngenge, Gerald Irungu Nyambura, Joseph Momanyi Obonyo, Albert Kilunga Abagaressa, Joseph Mrabu Charo, Daniel Safari Kadenga, Michael Muye Mwang’ombe, Christiano Krisha Daido, Abio Dadoo, Christopher Najib Saro, Karisa Habel Randy, Kelvrin Ogongo Nyakundi, Robert Moreno Shaban, Isnino Fardia Hussein, Edwin Moroni, Collins Maina Mbogo.
They are aged between 18 to 27 years.
According to police, the 17 youths were arrested on Monday in Samburu, Kwale county, where they were in hiding. Police told the court that they found the suspects in a two-roomed house and were sleeping in old mattresses on the floor.
“During the ambush, we found the suspects in possession of utensils that we suspect are counterfeits,” said the police.
The suspects were also found with mobile phones, which were taken by the ATPU to investigate their communication details.
The group, however, denied the charges before chief magistrate Dominica Nyambu, saying they are salespersons in Samburu area employed by Primmax Marketing Limited company, which has several branches in the Coast region.
“The following suspect are facing terror charges so i would request the court to give us more time to continue with the investigations and find out more on who employed them considering that they come from different parts of the country,” said the officer in charge of their case.
The identification documents show that they come from areas of Tana River, Kilifi, Nakuru, Baringo and Kisii.
The 17 suspected terror recruits will now be hold at Diani police station for seven days as police continue with the investigations.
Mentioning and hearing of the case will be on February 4, 2019.