I was promised Sh1m to plant bombs in churches

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A porter has sensationally revealed that he was recruited into the Al-Shabaab terror group and radicalised at a Mombasa mosque.

He was then instructed to carry out terrorist attacks.

Mr Benjamin Masero, 37, Wednesday told the Daily Nation that he and five other porters at a Nairobi bus station were enticed with job offers in Mombasa by a man believed to be the terror group’s agent in the city.

“We used to earn a living helping passengers carry luggage at the Country Bus Station. We would meet at Tea Room every morning and proceed to the stage. In the last week of April, an agent of a bus company plying the Nairobi-Mombasa route approached us with the promise of giving us jobs at the bus company in Mombasa,” Mr Masero said.

They were taken to a mosque in Bondeni in the coastal town.

“They took us to a room in the compound of the mosque, where we stayed while arrangements were made for us to take up our new jobs. Soon after, an Islamic preacher started offering us Islamic teachings.”

Mr Masero comes from Ikolomani constituency in Kakamega County and said their full names, national identity card numbers and places of birth were taken by their “hosts” who said that they would use the information to get in touch with their families should anything bad happen to them.

“A number of days later, they told us that they would pay us Sh1 million each if we accomplished an undisclosed assignment. When we demanded that they pay us half up front and deposit the balance in our bank accounts, they flatly refused.

“They then told us that they wanted us to plant explosives in two churches and a supermarket in Nairobi. The targets were the Neno Evangelism on Haile Sellassie Avenue and the Holy Family Basilica and one of the Nakumatt branches in the central business district ,” he said.

Their task was to plant the explosive devices in the two churches and the supermarket and walk away. The bombs would be detonated remotely through mobile phones.

Anti Terrorism Police Unit Director Boniface Mwaniki declined to comment on the story. He said he was “out of town” and referred the Nation to his deputy, Mr John Mulaulu, whose phone went unanswered.

One of the recruits identified as Moses Shirongo openly disagreed with the “Islamic preachers” over the plan to plant the bombs and was taken away, never to return, said Mr Masero.

“They took him away and returned with his clothes, telling us that we would never see him again. We don’t know what happened to him.”

Mr Masero said he escaped from “captivity” last week after sneaking out of the room during prayers for a man who had died.

“I hiked lifts in long-distance trucks all the way from Mombasa to Nairobi. “I don’t know what will happen to the other four young men I left behind. I am ready to show police the mosque where they are being kept if my safety is guaranteed,” he said.

-nation.co.ke

Benjamin Masero who claims he had been recruited by Al Shabaab to execute terror attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa Churches and Supermarkets speaking to Nation on June 3, 2014. PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI (NAIROBI)

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