More details have emerged about a man arrested in early November for providing sensitive information to Al-Shabaab to facilitate their terror operations in Kenya.
Mustafa Khalib Muhumed wore many hats during his operations in Garissa, Lamu and Tana River counties, an approach that helped him gather intel, deliver surveillance reports to the terror cell and even scout for new recruits with the least of suspicion.
Mustafa, who was arrested on 5 November, was employed by Garissa County as a garbage collector and also worked with Womankind, an NGO, as a paralegal officer. The suspect has also been masquerading as a gender and community activist and working as a tout at Bura town for the Dek Express bus service plying the Garissa- Msalani route. It did not end there. Mustafa dabbles in freelance journalism, is a cobbler at Bura
Market, Tana River county, and volunteers as a civic educator for SUPKEM Garissa branch. He has worked with community-based organisations and participated in various workshops, seminars and community programmes on counter-terrorism.
The suspect has used this network with devastating effect, plotting deadly attacks and scouting for recruits to Al-Shabaab, all while on the terror cell’s payroll. Police reports indicated that at the time of his arrest, Mustafa had just delivered a detailed surveillance report about a security installation for an attack.
He had detailed to his Al-Shabaab handlers the routes used by security personnel from the camp, had provided a map of the areas adjoining the camp and provided probable escape routes to be used by the militants who would execute the attack against the security camp.
He had also been tasked to report on security operations in North Eastern and Lamu County to facilitate Al-Shabaab IED attacks and ambushes against Kenya’s security personnel. His most crucial task, the reports reveal, was to spy on the LAPPSET project, one of Kenya’s key ongoing infrastructure development programmes for possible attacks by the Somalia-based militants to sabotage the multimillion-dollar investment. LAPPSET is set to open northern and coastal Kenya and connect several countries in the horn of Africa.
“Muhumed had mapped the progress of the project, the contractors/labourers working on the project, the sites where material/equipment of the project were stored and the military/security installations/personnel guarding the project.
He was also following up on the movement of political leaders for possible kidnapping and ransom missions to bolster the terror group’s financial base,” the report added.
At the time of his arrest, the suspect was found to be in possession of spying glasses and cameras that he was using to gather data on possible targets. He was also found with violent extremist content and material, which he propagated to unsuspecting youth online to lure them into joining terrorist groups.
It was also established that Mustafa had recruited a vast network of witting and unwitting participants to help him meet the numerous demands from his terrorist handlers, whom the police are also currently pursuing.
The police say Mustafa is believed to have provided Al-Shabaab with information that assisted the terror group in carrying out attacks at the LAPSSET construction site at Kwa Omollo, where a lorry, three motorbikes were burnt, and seven civilians were killed on 11 March 2022.