Somali MP detained overnight in Mandera on false identity charges

A member of parliament from Somalia’s Jubaland state finds himself spending a second night at the Mandera police station after being arrested at a bus checkpoint on Monday.

Yussuf Mohamed Gurhan was apprehended while allegedly in possession of a Kenyan identity card acquired under false pretenses, according to a charge sheet.

The charge sheet states that in 2006, Gurhan presented himself as a Kenyan citizen to the registrar of persons at the Ruqa division in Ijara Sub-county of Garissa County and intentionally obtained a Kenyan identity card bearing the name Yussuf Mohamed Gurhan, knowing it to be false.

Gitari Muchira, the head of the Directorate of Investigations, revealed that despite a request for the release of the legislator from Somalia’s Belet Hawa administration on diplomatic grounds, Gurhan will be arraigned in court tomorrow. The Director of Criminal Investigations (CIO) confirmed the receipt of a letter from the Deputy Commissioner in Belet Hawa, expressing the desire for the suspect’s release.

“We have received a letter from the DC in Belet Hawa asking for the release of the suspect, whom he said is an MP in Jubaland state, on the grounds of diplomacy,” stated the CIO.

In addition to the charges related to the false identity card, Gurhan is accused of making a false declaration to obtain the national ID card. The charge sheet also mentions that he entered Kenya through an undesignated entry point.

The presence of a contingent from the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) at the Mandera Law Court raised eyebrows, as it was rumored that they intended to rescue the Somali Jubaland state leader and return him unharmed to his home country.

Witnesses from the Mandera County Human Rights Group condemned the heavy military presence, expressing concern about the security implications of having Somali nationals in the country.

Noor Abdow, the chairman of the Human Rights Network in Mandera, criticized the intimidating atmosphere created by the armed officers present in the court compound. He called on the government to take the issue of insecurity caused by the presence of Somali nationals seriously.

“The KDF soldiers arrived with machine guns mounted on a Land Cruiser and a truck full of soldiers inside the court compound, causing fear among citizens seeking services at the court,” Abdow stated.

Abdow further emphasized that such a heavy presence of armed officers undermined the principles of justice within the confines of the court and created an unnecessarily tense environment.

As the case unfolds, the fate of MP Yussuf Mohamed Gurhan remains uncertain, and the court proceedings will shed light on the validity of the charges brought against him and the potential implications for diplomatic relations between Kenya and Somalia.

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