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Grenade man linked to OTC blast jailed for life

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 28 – The man who was caught with a cache of dangerous weapons and confessed to playing a part in Monday's grenade attack at the OTC bus stage has been jailed for life by a Nairobi court.

Elgiva Bwire Oliacha alias Mohamed Seif was sentenced barely 72 hours after his arrest.

On Wednesday – his first day in court – Bwire readily pleaded guilty to nine charges which included being a member of the Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab network.

Senior Principal Magistrate Grace Macharia handed him the harsh sentence saying that it was in the public interest as the man had the intention of killing the victims of the terror attacks.

She further directed the Anti Terrorism Police unit to safely keep or destroy the weapons recovered at Bwire's House in a police raid on Tuesday.

The life sentence was handed for his involvement in the OTC grenade attack that caused grievous harm to Justus Makau Mulwa and Patrick Ndolo Kinyingi.

He received another 15-year sentence for being a member of the Al Shabaab and engaging in criminal activity.

The magistrate said: "I have considered all the facts in this matter which I concede to, that the offences were aimed at killing the victims. So a deterrent sentence is called for not only to serve the interest of the public but also to deter other offenders."

The 28-year-old was further handed seven years in prison for the six respective charges of being in possession of firearms and ammunition without respective firearm certificates.

In reading the quick sentence, at the Anti terrorism Police Unit headquarters, Senior Principal Magistrate Grace Macharia said that she had conceded to the evidence provided by the police and the facts of the case presented.

Police said the that Bwire converted from Christianity to Islam in 2005 and had made his way to Somalia last year through the Liboi border town, after an earlier attempt in 2009 had been thwarted by the police.

He is said to have received training (including practical on-the-ground training) by the Al Shabaab in Somalia on arms, ammunitions how to conduct attacks and was qualified in those fields.

He returned to Kenya in August this year and police say he had already recruited people interested in terrorist activities at his rented residence in Kayole.

State prosecutor Onesmus Towett told the magistrate that the attack at the OTC bus stage was executed under his supervision and direction.

Although he has 14 days to lodge an appeal, Bwire who seemed unfazed and unremorseful said that he would not appeal and that he was satisfied with the sentence.

He said: "I am just happy, a sad man is a remorseful man," when asked by journalists about his reaction to the sentence.

On Friday, two of Bwire's accomplices were charged with being members of Somalia's hard-line Al Shabaab militia, against whom Kenya launched an offensive nearly two weeks ago in the south of the war-torn country.

Omar Muchiri and Stephen Macharia, both Kenyans, however denied the charges. They also denied being accomplices of Oliacha.

All three were arrested this week as Kenyan police stepped up security in the wake of Shabaab threats to attack the country in retaliation for Nairobi's military offensive in southern Somalia.

In the Tuesday raid, police recovered 13 hand grenades, four pistols, two submachine guns and 717 rounds of ammunitions.



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