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Friday, July 30, 2021

Police intensifies crackdown on Sonko’s buddies

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Embattled former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, woes have continued to deepen after police intensified crackdown on his aides, searching their houses and causing panic over allegations of terrorism activities.

According to Police sources, some seven more aides were arrested on Friday and Saturday by plainclothes detectives, some outside City Hall, some from their Nairobi homes and some on the road, a move that has now spread among fear and panic among Sonko’s friends.

Police are said to have gone to the Nairobi homes of those arrested and seized knives and items including jungle camouflage military-type uniforms, said to be among items allegedly used for training.

The operations were carried out by the Anti-Terror Police Unit.

The first people arrested in the operation that began last week were aides Clifford Ouko and Benjamin Ochieng.

On Thursday they were produced at the Kahawa West law court in Kamiti Prison for allegedly attempting to rescue Sonko.

The prosecution wants them detained for 30 days, pending investigations.

The magistrate ordered them detained until Monday when they and Sonko will appear for the hearing of an application to hold them for 30 days

The two were arrested on February 3 outside Kamiti.

Ochieng had gone on Facebook live outside the prison, saying Sonko was locked up there.

An affidavit by police said they recovered military uniforms, SIM cards, a laptop and assorted mobile phones from the two men.

In a sworn affidavit, inspector Ezekiel Luley of ATPU said the two have been wearing military uniforms against Kenyan law.

He said they planned to attack parts of the country and cause mayhem.

Sonko spent his weekend at the Gigiri police cells ahead of two rulings on his release. To reduce the number of those who wanted to see him at the cells, police misled would-be visitors that he had been moved to Kamiti or Shimo La Tewa Prison in Mombasa.

Kahawa West chief magistrate Diana Kavedza ordered Sonko be detained at the Gigiri police cells ahead of her ruling.

His defence opposed the application, citing alleged contempt of court by the prosecution and jurisdictional issues. They argued the police were abusing their power and would roll back judicial reforms.

The lawyers include John Khaminwa, Assa Nyakundi, Evans Ondieki and Alfred Nyamu.

Kavedza said she agreed with Dr Khaminwa that terrorism is not a simple case and there will be confusion if it proceeds before the Kiambu court rules on Sonko’s bail in a different matter.

Sonko’s attempts to be released by a Kiambu court failed after a magistrate failed to show up in court.

He is facing multiple assault charges. The ruling by Kiambu chief magistrate Stella Atambo on Sonko’s bail application in his assault case was postponed until Tuesday, February 9.

She said she was not ready and had not had enough time to compile the final ruling.

Sonko was taken to court but police drove him back before they showed up at the Kamiti court at 2.40pm.

Last year the Judiciary opened the Kahawa West law courts inside the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. It was funded by the US and UK governments.

It is the first and largest court in Kenya dedicated to terrorism and high-risk cases.

According to a sworn affidavit by an ATPU chief inspector Newton Thimangu, the former governor has been wearing a military-type uniform associated with terrorist groups posing a national security threat.

Hence, he said, Sonko should be detained for comprehensive investigations.

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