SUPKEM calls for release of 21 youths arrested in Kilifi over radicalization claims

Supkem National organizing secretary Hussein Shariff addressing the media in Kilifi. PHOTO: DAVID NGUMBAO.

Kilifi, KENYA: Supreme Council of Kenya Muslim, SUPKEM is calling  for the release of 21 youths who were arrested by police after being found in one of the mosques in Chumani area,Kilifi, saying they are innocent.

Hussein Shariff Omar, National Organizing Secretary of the council, told Baraka FM on Tuesday that they were informed that the youths were on Friday arrested and taken to an anonymous police stations.

He said the youths are studying religion and nothing else in contrary to what the police allege.

“We came to Kilifi police station but we were not told anything in regard to where our youths are. All we call upon from the police is the release of the youths because they are innocent,” said Sharrif.

Meanwhile, Kilifi county Deputy Criminal Investigation Officer Christopher Chesoli confirmed the arrest of the youths, adding that they have come from as far as Mandera, Marsabit, Wajir, Garisa and even neighboring Country Tanzania.

Speaking to the press in his office earlier on Tuesday, he said the youths are suspected to be undergoing a radicalization training.

He added that the youths are also said to have been chased away by a woman who used to host them before they were rescued by a good Samaritan.

“We had to arrest them because we were informed by members of the public that they never understood what was going on with the youths in the mosque,” said Chesoli.

“We are now holding them up at Kijipwa and Kilifi Police stations as investigations are underway,” added Chesoli.

The officer said they are being cautious as various places in  Kilifi County have in the past  been used for radicalization purposes, a matter that has ended  with many youths joining terror groups.