Two women who failed to inform police of their friend who had traveled to Somalia to join terror group Al-Shabaab have been arrested.
Eunice Wanjiku Wachira and Caroline Mwangi are expected to be charged in a Nairobi court Monday, for failing to disclose information relevant in securing the arrest and prosecution of a person who travelled to Somalia, which is a terrorist designated country, contrary to the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012.
Wanjiku and Caroline were arrested for failing to report to the police that Eric Njoroge Wachira, had left for Somalia to join the Al-Shabaab.
The mother to Eric had confided in a friend that, Eric had left for Somalia and she was very frustrated because her efforts to reach Njoroge in Somalia through the phone were futile.
According to the Act, it is an obligation for every Kenyan to report to the local administration, the police or relevant authority a person suspected to be engaged in terror activities.
Therefore, failure to disclose information relevant in securing and prosecution of a person engaged in terror activities is an offence.
Police say Caroline who is the girlfriend to Eric met him in August 2015 in Nyeri town. Eric was a business man selling second hand shoes and a bhang peddler in Nyeri town.
Caroline was aware of Eric’s plan to go to Somalia and she allegedly facilitated his travel to Somalia in November 2016.
The two kept in touch through the phone, where Caroline updated Eric on the situation back at home.
Eric’s journey to Somalia to join the Al-Shabaab must have started when he took a keen interest in literature and videos that promoted violent extremism in the social media.
According to police, Eric Isolated himself and most of the time, he would lock himself in his room while watching the video or reading the books.
Later on, the friend learnt that Eric had converted to “Islam”, however he noted that there was something not right about his behavior, because he suddenly began to isolate himself from friends, became disobedient and also he stopped doing things that he was passionate about like sports, social events and education among others.
Eric talked of martyrdom and fighting for the course of Allah. He even talked of relocating to a Muslim country in order to find peace.
The friend said that, he last saw Eric in October, 2016 and he is very sad to hear that he left for Somalia. Besides that, he opined that had he been privy to Eric’s conversion to Islam was just a cover up to join terrorism, he might have saved him by reporting to the police.
Police say there have been increased cases of radicalisation and individuals travelling to Jihadi theatres.
Police say some of the probable signs that the public should look out for in persons who might be undergoing radicalisation include; sudden/ gradual withdrawal from normal social activities, making positive comments on terrorist groups, discreteness in interactions with other people including family members among others.
“People have an obligation and responsibility to report cases of radicalisation to the police.”