‘Mastermind’ of Mandera attacks in Kenyan police custody

Kenyan police have arrested a man suspected of planning attacks in Mandera in which more than 64 people were killed in December, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported Friday (January 30th).

Police are questioning Kenyan national Salim Abubakar Kitonga and he has been co-operative thus far, said Mandera County Police Commander Job Boronjo.

“This man Salim is a Kenyan and he has been on our list for long, as reports indicate he is behind the recruitment of Kenyans, Ugandans and Tanzanians into al-Shabaab group based in Somalia,” he said.

“There is enough information that he planned the two attacks that left 64 people dead late last year, but he is with us for further interrogations before he is taken to court,” Boronjo said.

Kitonga has been living at a mosque in Mandera town and has been facilitating the entry of al-Shabaab recruits into the country from Somalia through Bula Hawa, he said.

He is the first suspect arrested in connection with the two Mandera attacks.

Boronjo said Kitonga, age 30, was arrested after police were tipped off by members of the public, Somalia’s Goobjoog News reported.

Mandera authorities tightened security in the area following his arrest.