Two Kenyan trainee doctors on the police list of wanted terrorists have been killed in a sting operation in Libya.
Farah Dagane Hassan, 26 and Hiish Ahmed Ali, 25, who were interns at Kitale hospital before they fled Kenya, died in the Libyan city of Sirte after a raid against Islamic State remnants there.
Before the trainee doctors fled, investigations linked them to a terrorism network comprising young doctors that was planning biological weapon attacks in the country.
The plan was uncovered in April last year after one of the suspected masterminds, Mohammed Abdi Ali aka Abu Fidaa, also a doctor, was arrested.
He and his wife Nuseibah Mohammed, alias Ummu Fidaa, a medical student, are facing terrorism charges in court.
Police offered Sh4 million to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of any of the young doctors on the list of most wanted terror suspects.
Investigations that followed unearthed that Isis in Syria had established an international terror network with agents in Kenya, Uganda, Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Niger, Algeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Egypt.
The network relied on a human trafficking ring called the “Magafe network” for the transportation of recruits.
Security agencies are now collaborating with their counterparts in other countries to better understand the terrorism organisation and other organised crime outfits involved in conventional crimes such as human trafficking, human organ harvesting, abduction and ransoms.
Investigations have so far established 10 routes used by the Magafe network to transport terror recruits from Kenya to Syria and Libya by sea, air or road.
One of the air routes flies them to the United Arab Emirates, then on to Syria.
Another one flies them to Lagos, then takes them on a road trip to neighbouring Niger, on to Algeria and then to Libya, ending with a sea journey through the Mediterranean Sea to Syria.
Another road takes them to Kampala, then to Juba in South Sudan after which they go north to Khartoum, on to Egypt and finally to Syria by sea.
The Ethiopian route takes them from Nairobi to Addis Ababa while the rest of the journey to Sudan and Egypt is by road. The recruits then cross the Mediterranean to reach Syria.
The trainee doctors studied medicine at Kampala International University in Uganda, where they were recruited
POSTED TO KITALE
Hiish was brought up in Mansa village, Fafi constituency. He completed his medical studies in June, 2015, and registered with the Health ministry. He was then posted to the Kitale public hospital.
“According to his classmates, Hiish behaved normally and was very religious during his university years. He liked reading the Koran and did not like watching videos,” according to a government document.
Farah joined the university in September, 2010 and completed his studies in January, 2016, joining the hospital the following month in February.
The two travelled to Libya through the Kampala-Khartoum-route.
“On arrival, they joined the ranks of Isis and started recruiting individuals from Kenya. They lured young graduates with false promises of a new life, gainful employment with handsome pay and sometimes through false ideology,” said the report.
In the transnational operation by government agencies, the documents says, some of the Kenyan recruits were rescued and are being rehabilitated.
A young woman in her 20s, going under the pseudo name Fatma to protect her identity, told authorities how she was inducted and taken to Libya, where she joined a group of other women from Kenya, Somalia and Eritrea.
They travelled by bus to Kampala and then to Sudan during the 12-day trip in which they were joined by young men.
According to her, each had a different reason to travel; some were escaping harsh economic conditions in their countries while others felt they were fulfilling religious obligations.
They were all under the command of a man named Moha. Once in Libya, she was sold off to an Isis fighter with whom she lived for six months until he was killed in a drone strike.
PREGNANT AND STRANDED
Pregnant and stranded in a foreign country, she was rescued by an elderly woman who took her to a humanitarian aid agency, which flew her back to her family in Nairobi.
“Kama ningalipata mtu wa kunionya kuwa kwenda Libya sio jihadi pengine singepitia niliyo yapitia. Lakini namshukuru Allah kwa kunipitisha haya ili niweze kuwatahadharisha wengine” (If someone had warned me of what lay in store for me in Libya, I would not have travelled there, but I thank God for affording me this experience so that I can warn others),” a government document detailing her ordeal quotes her saying.
Mohamed A is another victim who survived the Magafe network and is being rehabilitated. At 32, he was not employed, though he is a university graduate.
He paid $2,000 (About Sh200,000) to a middle man who promised to smuggle him to Europe.
He left behind his family in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood and together with other illegal immigrants, left Nairobi in a transit container heading to Uganda.
“The meals were scarce. There were scabies outbreaks, women who were raped and given contraceptives were lumped together with men,” he told his minders after he was rescued.
In Libya, Mohammed was asked by the smugglers to pay an extra $7,000 (Sh700,000) through a hawala agent in Nairobi to a contact in Dubai.
“Unable to raise the amount from his family, Mohammed was tortured and abandoned by his smugglers in Sirte. He was later rescued by an aid agency working in Libya and reunited with his family four months ago,” says the report.