Suspect faces 78 murder charges over Lamu, Tana River attacks.

Suspect faces 78 murder charges over Lamu, Tana River attacks.

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A man suspected to be among the gang that attacked Lamu and Tana River counties, killing dozens of people will be charged with 78 counts of murder, prosecutors told a court in Lamu on Monday.

Ahmed Hassan, 46, also faces charges of destruction of property of unknown value in Kakathe, Pandanguo, Mpeketoni, Hindi and Kibaoni among other areas in Lamu County.

He was arrested last Thursday in Garissa town where police said he had gone into hiding, and taken to Lamu where he was detained before he appeared in court on Monday.

Paul Abogi, the lead investigator, told the court that the suspect, together with others not before court, committed the crimes on different dates in June and July, and that they operated within a terrorist organization.

He said they had sufficient evidence to link the suspect with the killings but asked the court through prosecutor Caleb Mutonyi, to grant them an additional 10 days to conclude investigations before they formally charged the suspect, adding that they intended to press additional charges.

The court directed that the suspect be remanded at the Mpeketoni police station until August 11, when the matter comes up for mention.

Earlier this month another suspect, Dyana Salim, denied 12 counts of murder over the deadly attacks, before a Mombasa court, and was released on a cash bail of 500,000 shillings.

Police have said they have arrested several people they believe are linked to the attacks, but only a few have so far been arraigned in court.

Among those arrested were Lamu governor Issa Timamy, who was later released on bail as prosecutors sought evidence to charge him formally.

Inspector General of police David Kimaiyo announced a dusk to dawn curfew in Lamu in what he said was to help ongoing security operations in the area.

Hundreds of local residents fled the area over fear of further attacks, with many others who were accommodated at Red Cross camps refusing to go back to their homes despite assurances from police and local leaders.

A combination of both police and the military were combing area forests where the attackers were said to be hiding.

Al shabbab claimed responsibility for most of the attacks, but the government refuted, and instead blamed local political networks for the killings.