News24 on Thursday, March 27, 2003
Nairobi – Kenyan authorities said on Thursday they have detained for questioning four police officers accused of negligence after the disappearance of two people, arrested on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities.
“A chief inspector of police and his three juniors are in custody for breaching the rules of duty and negligence in the disappearance of people suspected to be involved in terrorism,” Gideon Kibunja, spokesperson for the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said.
Kibunja said two suspects disappeared early this month from police custody when they were being driven to the airport in the port city of Mombasa to catch a flight for Nairobi where they were to be interrogated.
The four police officers were detained a week ago, Kibuja said.
“First the arrested officers will face disciplinary investigation for breaking standing orders of the police force and be investigated on whether they were involved in terrorism,” another CID officer, who asked not to be named, said.
“It is possible they (the suspects) bribed their way out,” the officer said.
Another source close to the investigations said those who escaped were “important suspects”.
“What I am aware of is suspects in terrorist investigations slipping through police custody or (evading) attempts by police to take people into custody,” said the source, who asked not to be identified.
“This has certainly caused concern among people involved in the investigation,” the source said.
He declined to say whether the escaped suspects had been linked to near simultaneous attacks in Mombasa last November, when 18 people were killed in the suicide bombing of a hotel popular with Israelis, and a passenger jet narrowly escaped being hit by a shoulder-fired missile.
A suspect in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzanian whom US agents picked up in Mogadishu last week and took to Nairobi for questioning was on Wednesday flown to the United States for trial.