Ever wondered why a 2o year old would let go of a seemingly promising future just to dine with bloody thirsty terrorists?
Well such is the story of Mahir Khalid Riziki, the Dusit D2 Suicide bomber who was barely 20 when he joined a radical Islamist cell that assassinated police in his home town of Mombasa.
His mosque in the coastal Kenyan city funnelled recruits to the Somalia-based Islamist group al Shabaab, which claimed the January 15 attack in Nairobi.
Riziki, who was 25 when he died, fled after a deadly police raid on the mosque in 2014. His years as a fugitive shed light on the difficulties of tracking militant suspects across East Africa at a time when al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab is seeking to broaden its pool of recruits and carry out more attacks in other nations.
Borders are porous. Intelligence sharing is often ad hoc. Warnings may be too vague or too late.
Riziki’s journey spanned at least two East African nations that share borders with Kenya.
“After he disappeared, we monitored him to Tanzania, then later to Somalia, where he went quiet until he made a surprise appearance in the Dusit [hotel] attack,” a retired Kenyan counter-terrorism officer told Reuters.
Kenyan authorities did not respond to queries about whether they had requested help tracking Riziki. But the retired officer said they had contacted Interpol, the international police network.
Interpol had no red notice – an international alert – for Riziki on its website. A spokesman declined to say why, citing a policy not to discuss specific cases. Tanzanian authorities also would not comment on Riziki’s case.