29 October 2011

Kenya: Grenade Attack Man to Spend Life in Jail

Police say the arrest of a man with grenades and an assortment of arms in his possession in Kayole this week thwarted a double terror attack that ... ( Resource: Kenya: Grenade Bomber Pleads Guilty on Terror Charge

Self-confessed Al-Shaabab member Elgive Bwire who confessed to launching Monday's twin grenade attacks in the city will spend the rest of his life in jail.

Twenty eight year old Bwire smiled as senior principal magistrate Grace Macharia read out the sentence at the end of the first ever criminal case to be determined in 72 hours.

She said Bwire deserved a harsh sentence as he had intentions of killing people when he launched the grenade attacks. "I concede that the offences were done with an aim of killing and the sentence will be given so at to deter others with such similar intentions," said the magistrate.

Macharia asked the Anti Terrorism Police unit to safely keep or destroy the weapons recovered at Bwire's house during a police raid on Tuesday.

The life sentence was handed for his involvement in the OTC grenade attack that caused grievous harm to Justus Makau Mulwa and Patrick Ndolo Kinyingi. He received another 15-year sentence for being a member of the Al Shabaab and engaging in criminal activity. "I have considered all the facts in this matter which I concede to, that the offences were aimed at killing the victims. So a deterrent sentence is called for not only to serve the interest of the public but also to deter other offenders," Macharia said.

She also sentenced Bwire to seven years in prison for the six charges of being in possession of firearms and ammunition without respective firearm certificates.

Bwire was arrested on Tuesday, appeared in court on Wednesday and confessed to being in possession of an AK-47 rifle, a sub machine gun, two revolvers, two automatic pistols, 717 rounds of ammunition, a sub machine gun magazine and 13 live hand grenades and was sentenced yesterday.

Bwire, who kept looking at the wall clock as the magistrate read out the sentence, was unperturbed by the sentence. He kept fiddling with the metal handcuffs which restrained his hand.

He said he was not remorseful and was happy with spending the rest of his life in prison. "I am just happy, a sad man is a remorseful man," when asked by journalists about his reaction to the sentence.

Saying he had no regrets, Bwire, who converted to Islam in 2005 sand took up the name Mogammed Seif, joked with the press as he stood next to a table where the guns, ammo and grenades had been displayed. At one point he joked with the journalists not to get too close to the table as "anything can happen!" Bwire who had refused legal representation, said he would not appeal against the sentence. "Whats done is done," he said.

The court was told how Bwire made an unsuccessful attempt to travel to Somalia soon after he converted to Islam in 2005. He was reportedly stopped at the Kenya- Somalia border and had to come back. He succeeded in travelling to Somalia through Liboi a few months later.

While in Somalia, Bwire received training by the Al Shabaab on arms, ammunitions and how to conduct attacks (including practical on-the-ground training)and was qualified in those fields before he was deployed to the field to carry out the attacks.

In August 2011, Bwire left Mogadishu and came back to Nairobi. On arrival he went to Kayole where he rented a house for himself and his family. He said he recruited other people to join the militia group.

Bwire admitted that he and an accomplice launched the grenade at Kaka bus stage along Race Course Road that killed one person and injured more than 20 others. The grenade attack came barely 18 hours after a man hurled a grenade into Mwaura's night club along Mfangano Lane, injuring 14 people. Bwire took responsibility for both attacks.

Bwire smiled for the cameras as he taken away by anti-terrorism police unit under tight security.Bwire, who has a son, studied engineering at the Kenya Polytechnic.

Two other people - Omar Muchiri alias Orima Hussein and Stephen Macharia alias Muchango who were charged in connection with the Kaka bus stage grenade attack denied the charge and also denied they were Al Shabaab members. Their case will be heard on November 4.

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