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Feb 7, 2017
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Behind veil of riches are tales of terror and fratricide

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For decades, the name Akasha has been synonymous with notoriety and impunity. This is especially so in Mombasa, where the late patriarch Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla and some of his sons held sway until he was killed in a hail of bullets in the Netherlands in 2000. Like all prominent families, the Akasha clan embodies a mix of the good and the bad. Naturally, family members proclaim innocence but, significantly, most of them have lived within the law, avoiding jail or being freed on appeal after conviction.

Last week, the late patriarch’s widow, Fatuma, lamented that the Akasha family has been a victim of hostile propaganda and vicious conspiracies by rival businessmen and families, and had never traded in even an ounce of narcotics This followed the extradition of the late Akasha’s sons, Baktash and Ibrahim, which presents the most viable opportunity to test claims that this family, which has roots in the Middle East but migrated to Kenya over 60 years ago, has engaged in drug trafficking. The polygamous Akasha clan has been divided by decades of internal feuds pitting the children of one widow against the children of another. These feuds led to violent clashes, perhaps death but also reconciliation.

For close to two decades, Baktash Akasha has been the public face of a family blamed for organised crime in Mombasa.
QUIET LIVES

But not all the Akasha children are associated with crime — some live quiet lives in Mombasa and abroad. Many who were associated with the internal feuds or faced court before have mended their ways or left to live abroad and resumed normal lives. Following his father’s death in Amsterdam on May 3, 2000, Baktash emerged as the heir of a vast financial empire that runs across three continents. Besides charisma and the proverbial nine lives, Baktash, 41, who speaks perfect English despite dropping out of primary school in Mombasa Academy, also appears to have inherited his father’s sense of wit, proclivity for crime, bravado and global networks. It is said that it is these networks that have landed him in deep trouble with US authorities. In recent years, Baktash, who first married as a teenager, had lured his younger brother, Ibrahim Abdalla Akasha, into his notorious ways.

Both controlled the empire that survived their father’s death and the violent family feuds that over wealth that followed. Baktash and Ibrahim are sons of Fatuma, the late patriarch’s third wife. Before his murder, there was order in the Akasha family, and Baktash and Kamaldin — his slain brother from an unidentified woman but raised by Karima (one of the late Akasha’s wives) — were close and acted as bodyguards for their father. But hell broke loose after their father’s death, apparently over control of the spoils. Kamaldin was killed at the height of the squabbles, sparking a new wave of blame and violent clashes. Baktash and his half-brother Hassan (son of Karima) publicly accused their other brother, Nurdin Akasha “Tinta”, for Kamaldin’s murder, which remains unsolved to date. Baktash inherited most of his father’s wealth and took in Kamaldin’s children and the children of a deceased sister. When journalists were allowed into Fatuma’s home last Thursday, following Baktash’s and Ibrahim’s extradition to the US, she tearfully said, “My family has been a victim of malicious rumours and plots”.

(SOURCE: Standard Digital )

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