Nairobi – Kenyan police said on Monday that three terrorists escaped from the country’s highest security prison, including a “dangerous” inmate serving 41 years over an attack that killed 148 people.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations said a reward of 60 million Kenyan shillings ($535 000) would be offered to anyone with information that might lead to the capture of the trio.
No explanation was offered about how Mohamed Ali Abikar, Joseph Juma Odhiambo and Musharaf Abdalla Akhulunga managed to escape from Kamiti Maximum Security Prison that houses the country’s worst criminals on the outskirts of Nairobi.
The Commissioner General of Prisons, Wycliffe Ogallo, said in a statement Monday that he visited the scene “to establish the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident”.
“The matter has been brought to the attention of all security agencies in the country with a view of tracking and apprehending the escapees,” he said.
“I wish to notify the members of the public that these are dangerous criminals and nobody should provide refuge to them.”
Abikar was found guilty in 2019 of being a member of al-Shabaab and abetting the Somali jihadist group in the slaughter of 148 people at Garissa University in April 2015.
The victims, mostly students, were rounded up at dawn by gunmen who stormed their campus and separated the hostages according to religion.
Muslims were allowed to go but the rest were shot point-blank, most of them Christians.
It was the second bloodiest terror attack in Kenya’s history, surpassed only by al-Qaeda’s bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998 that killed 213 people.
One of the other escapees, Odhiambo, was arrested in 2019 for trying to enlist in al-Shabaab, police said.
Akhulunga was arrested in 2012 over a foiled attack on Kenya’s parliament and charged with possessing explosives, ammunition and firearms, police said.
Al-Shabaab has carried out a string of attacks in Kenya, which contributes troops to an African Union mission in Somalia that chased the militants out of Mogadishu in 2011.
In September 2013, the al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for a raid on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that killed 67 people over a four-day siege.