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Westgate Terror Suspect Set Free

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One of the three suspects linked to the 2013 Westgate Mall terror attack that led to the deaths of over 60 people has been freed over lack of evidence.

In his ruling, Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi stated that the court had granted the second accused the benefit of doubt as the evidence presented showed no connection to terror activities.

“I give the second accused the benefit of doubt in communicating with his brother who was one of the attackers. Not everyone who speaks with the accused is guilty,” reads an excerpt from the ruling.

Westgate Mall terror suspects Liban Abdullahi, Hussein Mustafa and Ahmed Abdi in a Nairobi court on Friday, September 18, 2020. /K24 DIGITAL

However the court found the suspect’s two co-accused, Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Mustafa, guilty of conspiring to commit a terrorism act and knowingly supporting the commission of a terrorism act.

Andayi acquitted Liban Omar of all charges against him and scheduled the sentencing of the two convicts on Thursday, October 22.

He based his verdict on evidence presented by 146 witnesses including security officers as well as first responders who presented evidence incriminating the three accused in the attack that culminated in a four-day siege.

The evidence also included testimonies from persons working in financial institutions as well as insurance companies who described the activity of the suspects prior to the attack.

The prosecution admitted that their case was heavily hinged on the communication data between the suspects and the attackers.

Magistrate Andayi further revealed that the five SIM cards recovered from the vehicle were proven to have been used to frequently communicate with the accused persons.

In one instance, a SIM card recovered at the scene of the attack was found to have communicated with one of the accused 226 times between June 2013 and August 26, 2013.

Liban, who was acquitted of all charges, had been in police custody over the last seven years, after his calls to his brother (one of the attackers), led the investigators to his doorstep.

At least 67 people were killed in the assault on the upmarket Westgate shopping complex, including then East FM presenter Ruhila Adatia Sood.

She was with former K24 presenter Shiksha Arora at an event organised by the radio station hosted at the rooftop parking of the mall prior to the terrorist attack.

Shiksha Arora with the late East FM presenter Ruhila Adatia Sood on September 21, 2013. / DAILY NATION

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