Kenya charged four men on Monday over recruitment of youths to join the Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab that has been carrying out frequent attacks in the east African nation.
The militants killed 148 people last month when they attacked a university in the north eastern town of Garissa. President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the time the attackers were embedded within Kenya’s Muslim community.
The men named as Abdulrahman Aboud Lali, Abubakar Famau, Sultwan Aboud Mzamil, and Abdillahi Mohamed Islam, were charged in a court in the coastal county of Lamy after they were arrested by Kenyan counter-terrorism police and military officers over the weekend at a roadblock.
Lali is a local politician who had vied for the Lamu senate seat during Kenya’s last general elections but lost.
“They have been recruiting youths from Hindi and Mokowe to join al Shabaab. We also believe they hold crucial leads that will enable us to arrest more terror suspects in Lamu,” Kennedy Chikola, the investigating officer, said in court.
He was referring to villages that were among the worst hit during last year’s attacks in the area, claimed by al Shabaab, in which at least 60 people were killed.
The four, who were also accused of being al Shabaab sympathizers, denied all the charges.
Chikola said they had confiscated literature and other material that linked the four to acts of terrorism and alliances with the al shabaab.
The court ordered the four detained until Tuesday when it rules on their request for release on bond.