Two suspects implicated in the 2013 West Gate mall attack have been found guilty over their role in the attack that left at least 67 people dead.
Chief magistrate Francis Adayi found Mohammed Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Mustaffah guilty in a case where they were accused of playing various roles in the September 21, 2013 terror attack that also left over 100 people nursing serious injuries.
Abdullah Omar was however set free after the court found no compelling evidence to incriminate him. “The prosecution has not proved its case against accused number two and he is therefore acquitted” ruled Adayi.
In his judgement, Adayi ruled that the prosecution had proved its case against Mohammed Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Mustaffah on charges of conspiring and supporting a terrorist group and giving support to a terrorist group and convicted them accordingly.
Adayi saying that despite denials, Abdi was in possession of a laptop and detailed evidence indicate information received was for use in instigating commission of a terrorist act. “I find that the prosecution evidence has sufficiently countered his denial,” said Adayi.
The decision of the court was informed by evidence derived from 46 witness accounts including scene witnesses, security officers, forensic experts as well as first responders who presented evidence incriminating two of the accused in the attack that resulted in a four-day siege.
The evidence also included accounts from persons working in financial institutions as well as insurance companies who illustrated the activity of the suspects prior to the attack as the prosecution sought to place the suspects at the heart of a terror network that orchestrated the Westgate mall attack.
While the two suspects had denied involvement in the terror attack including knowledge of the attackers only acceding to knowing them through past associations, the court ruled that crucial data derived from equipment recovered from the vehicle used to ferry assailants to the scene of the attack discounted their defense.
According to the evidence, data records indicated that the five sim cards recovered from the said motor vehicle suggested that they were used to communicate with the attackers with one of the cards found to have been in communication 226 times.
Device forensics on mobile phones recovered from one of the suspects, according to the evidence presented before the courts, would present geo-locations and call data records of persons said to have been in constant communication with terrorists who were executing the attack at the Westgate mall. The evidence according to the prosecution, indicating that the two suspects were involved in the planning and execution of the terror attack.
During his arrest in Kitale, Mohammed Ahmed Abdi is said to have been in possession of a laptop containing videos which the prosecution said could be used in the instigation, preparation and facilitation of terrorist acts.
And as Chief magistrate Francis Adayi captured the summary of the evidence presented before court, details of the attack were as graphical as was disturbing.
The summary illustrating how desperate victims run for their safety when gunmen stormed the Westgate shopping centre on the morning of September 21, 2013 and started shooting indiscriminately.
The evidence adduced before court presenting an insight into what goes into the planning and strategizing for attacks by terror groups including their strict adherence to terror ideologies.
The three suspects faced multiple counts ranging from commission of a terrorist act, conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, being in the country illegally to giving support to a terrorist group.
A fourth suspect Adan Dhed was set free in January last year after the prosecution failed to prove a case against him.
Alshabaab militants have been blamed for a series of terror attacks on Kenyan soil.