Kenya

'The dollar lured my husband to Somalia'

'The dollar lured my husband to Somalia'
  • Wesonga and Odhiambo were arrested by Somalia authorities before being handed over to Kenyan security officials.
  • They were on Tuesday charged with travelling to a terrorist designated country, failing to report their departure to government authorities and sneaking out of Kenya.
  • It is suspected that they were heading to Baidoa to join terror group Al-Shabaab.

Idris Wesonga left his rented house in Mumias town on November 11, 2019 in search for a job that would see him get paid in US dollars.

Wesonga and his friend Joseph Juma Odhiambo hit the road to the neighbouring country uncertain of what lay ahead of them.

Wesonga’s wife Jackline Bakola told Nation that they needed money to start up a business in Mumias.

JOBLESS

“We discussed the issue of getting capital to start a business for some time before my husband acquired an East African passport,” said Ms Bakola, a mother of three.

Despite being jobless, the fifth born in a family of eight is a trained driver and a mason.

“A friend had told him that construction workers were paid in US dollars in Somalia,” she said.

She said her husband left for Somalia to look for money to start a business.

“We believed with the US dollars, our lives could change,” she said.

“My husband called to inform me that they had been arrested in Somalia on November 18, 2019,” she added.

AL-SHABAAB

She said she learnt that her husband had been charged in a Mandera court through the Nation.

“My husband is a law abiding Kenyan and I am surprised that he has been accused of planning to join Al-Shabaab,” she said.

She said the charges preferred against her husband have soiled his good name and image back in Mumias.

“The government should ensure justice prevails for my husband,” she said.

Ms Bakola says security agencies in Mandera should have done thorough investigations before charging the two suspects.

Wesonga and Odhiambo were arrested by Somalia authorities before being handed over to Kenyan security officials.

They were on Tuesday charged with travelling to a terrorist designated country, failing to report their departure to government authorities and sneaking out of Kenya.

While in court, Wesonga said he reported his departure to his wife.

TERROR GROUP

The court heard that they did not report their exit to Somalia at any immigration office in the country.

It is suspected that they were heading to Baidoa to join terror group Al-Shabaab. After crossing the border into Bulahawa, they allegedly hired a taxi to Baidoa.

They were arrested by Somalia National Army and handed over to Kenya Defence Forces.

The KDF handed them over to the Anti-Terror Police Unit in Mandera which preferred the three charges against them after investigations.

The police report indicates that the two had East African passports. However, the travel documents were not stamped to legalise their travel to Somalia.

They also had driving licences and Kenyan national identity cards.

The suspects denied the charges before Mandera Principal Magistrate Peter Areri.

The case will be mentioned on January 10, 2020.