Mombasa, KENYA: New details continue to unfold of how local criminal gangs are lured and recruited to join Somali based terror group, Alshaabab.
Four youths,who are members of the outlawed criminal gang ,Wakali Kwanza and Wakalikwao have so far decided to surrender to the Authorities in Mombasa.
The youths who are aged 16,17 and 21years confessed that they joined the criminal gangs two years ago and have been terrorizing residents by stabbing them to death,rob them in order to get favours of joining terror group,which will offer them a chance to travel to Somalia.
Most of the youths in the criminal gangs operate as spies for al shabaab militants especially on security personnel and also carry out attacks against residents to distract security officers.
Baraka FM on Monday spoke to three youths in Mombasa who asked to remain anonymous due to security reasons.
“It’s very true we work closely with al shaabab militants,at times we are sent to cause havoc in a certain area,once we get apprehended and taken to police stations we are able to spy on them and inform them how security personnel in certain areas operate,” said Ali* (not real name.)
Another member of Watalia gang adds that; stabbing,murdering of innocent Kenyans as well as security officers, offers one a chance of being recruited in the Alshaabab Militia.
“You also become a hero and thats when you are offered high ranking position in its operations like in police chief inspector,sergeant and all those top ranks,” added the member.
“Murder is one of the consideration and a quality required for one to join the group, if one is able to kill or stab a police officer in his first assignment one is considered as a leader,” he said.
When asked how they began the group, he said it started as a football club but graduated gradually and became one of the deadliest and feared groups in Mombasa.
The youths said that they have now spread in areas of ,Likoni,Kongowea,Old Town, Kisauni Changamwe ,Majengo,and Mikindani.
He says when Alshaabab is interested in recruiting a member from the criminal groups,one is paid a deposit of sh 60,000 in cash with the promise of receiving another sh 100,000 once an assignment which one,has been assigned to carry out is completed.
The two who have so far surrendered at Kisauni DCIOs office confess that they were behind an attack at police officers who were pursuing members of the group who had gone on a robbery mission, and stabbing residents of Mshomoroni.
Another one said he was the ring leader of the Nyali barracks attack,in 2013 where several of his accomplices were arrested.
“We managed to escape since we had undergone,some witchcraft rituals to enable us accomplish our mission of stealing guns from the barracks,” he said.
They said they decided,to surrender to police after two of their colleagues were shot dead by police officers while they managed to escape.
“Though we managed to escape death we saw our members being killed ,we have been hiding since then but we feel police are watching us everywhere,they will kill us. We are now ready to change and start a new life,” he said.
The group said to be over 400 members ,further steals from the dead at Manyimbo cemetry,where one of the youths said they normally attend burials of the rich to find out where a deceased person has been buried.
“We have our rules that guides the gang members,its like a discipline force whenever one is found on the wrong,each has a duty to perform from digging out the dead,robbing ,them as well as reburying the body,”he says.
Wakalikwanza and Wakaliwao criminal gangs are based in Kisauni but they have shifted bases to other areas of Mombasa, Likoni being their new base.
Other gangs are Watalia,Wajuku wa Bibi,Young Turks university,Thug life,Bokoharam,Gaza Chafu za docks among others;they have infested most of the parts in Likoni sub county.
Last week, Mombasa county commissioner Evans Achoki during a baraza in Likoni ordered police to weed out all gangs in three months time.
Coast region police Commander,Larry Kiyeng said those who are ready to leave the gang will be received and integrated to the community.
“Our doors are open, let them come ,we will rehabilitate them ,and integrate them into the community,” Said the police chief.