Malindi businessman charged over Mpeketoni attacks to remain in custody

The two suspects charged with 60 counts of murder in connection with the Mpeketoni killings have been denied bond and will remain in custody throughout the hearings.

Mombasa High Court judge Edward Mureithi denied Mahadi Swaleh Mahadi and Dyan Salim Suleiman bond saying they may interfere with investigations.

The two have denied the charges claiming the police arrested them to save face.

An estimated 60 people died in separate attacks in Hindi and Mpeketoni with the government maintaining that those responsible will be brought to book.

The hearing continues on Friday.

According to police, Mahadi who runs businesses in Malindi has been funding and harbouring the attackers.

The government was quick to deny claims that the attacks were carried out by Al Shabaab terror group insisting it was politically motivated.

Other than the two, the area Governor Issa Timamy is also facing charges of murder, forceful eviction of populations and terrorism over the Mpeketoni attacks.

Despite government assurances that security has been beefed up in the area, attacks have continued to prevail.

The government says its has already arrested 69 suspects in the ongoing security operation following the deadly attacks in Lamu and Tana River counties.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Samuel Arachi who is leading a multi-agency operation, said  the suspects were found with maps of Lamu and Tana Delta as well as sketches of Boni and Mokowe forests.

Among other items recovered by the joint operation of police and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) include scarves and ropes that police say the suspects may have used to tie their victims.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers and all security personnel in the area, including the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Kenya Forest Service (KFS), were deployed around the forests on Monday to beef up security as reports emerged that the militia were using the conservation areas as their launching base.

The operation comes amidst reports of an exodus by residents who have fled their homes in Hindi in Lamu County and Gamba in Tana River County following the killing of 21 people on Saturday night.

Police headquarters have confirmed that leaflets targeting certain communities in various parts of the country are in circulation and are now calling on anyone with information about the authors of the leaflets to inform security agencies so that action is taken against the culprits.

In an interview with KBC Newsline, Police Spokesperson Zipporah Mboroki said so far a joint security operation currently underway in Lamu and Tana River Counties has netted 65 suspects who will be arraigned in court once investigations are complete.

Meanwhile the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has appointed and seconded ten senior prosecutors to the team of investigators handling Lamu and Tana River attacks that have so far claimed the lives of more than 80 people.

DPP Keriako Tobiko said the prosecutors are supposed to guide investigations, review evidence brought forward, screen all files on the cases, give technical advice and make decisions before any suspect is brought to court.