24 May 2023 :
A Court in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has sentenced Kenyan terror suspect Salim Mohammed, alias Chotora, to death.
The suspect’s lawyer Yusuf Ababukar revealed that Mohammed, 29, was sentenced to death by hanging in March after undergoing trial for the murder of a Congolese soldier.
Abubakar said that it was unclear if the convict had already been hanged.
“I have requested the Congolese government to supply his family with the judgment to enable us to appeal the sentence. However, they are yet to cooperate with us,” he said.
Ababukar noted that news of Mohammed’s trial were relayed to him and the family through a WhatsApp call where they were informed that he was set to undergo trial for the murder of a Congolese soldier.
“The trial began in November last year and in March, a verdict was released by the Congolese Judiciary, and he was sentenced to hang after he was found guilty of murder,” he said.
In his correspondence with the Congolese authorities, Ababukar had sought to be supplied with the judgment to enable him appeal his client’s sentence.
Following his arrest, the Congolese government, through Interpol Counter terrorism border operations, approved Mohammed’s trial for the murder of the soldier.
Prior to his trial, anti-terror police unit drawn from Mombasa and Nairobi, alongside officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), had travelled to Congo to interrogate and record statements from Mohammed to establish his terror links, networks and connections within East Africa, West Africa and Syria.
He is believed to have been headed to South Africa.
According to correspondence between the Kenyan authorities and Interpol, Kenya had sought to have the fugitive handed over to the government to facilitate completion of several cases related to terrorism activities in the country pending before Mombasa and Kwale law courts.
This was after the suspect absconded court following his release on bond in August last year.
Further, the government had sought to have Mohammed extradited to Kenya to enable the authorities gather more details and information in relation to his terrorism activities and his accomplices who are at large.
Mohammed came into the limelight in January last year when a video of the killing of a Congolese soldier using a machete surfaced online.
During his arrest in Congo, he was fighting for the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) which has been in operation since 1996 and is responsible for hundreds of deaths of civilians and soldiers in Uganda and DRC.
Mohamed had been arrested by anti-terror police in June 2019 at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa while trying to flee the country.
He was facing charges of being in possession of terrorism materials in Ngomeni area in Kwale county.
(Source: PD, 23/05/2023; The Star, 23/05/2023)