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Dutch citizens arrested in Kenya going to jihad camp

30th July 2009, Comments0 comments

Netherlands prosecutors confirm that four Dutch citizens have been arrested in Kenya for "possible involvement in terrorism."

The Hague – Four Dutch citizens have been arrested in Kenya for "possible involvement in terrorism," the prosecution service in the Netherlands said on Wednesday.

"According to Kenyan authorities, the four were arrested on the border of Kenya and Somalia," last Friday, it said in a statement. "They are alleged to have been on their way to a jihadist training camp.

"An investigation has been launched by (Netherlands) national police into their possible involvement in terrorism."

An investigation has been launched by Dutch police into the activities of the four, who are expected to be sent back home, according to prosecution spokeswoman Marieke van der Molen.

She added that the Netherlands retained jurisdiction to prosecute its nationals alleged to have committed crimes abroad. Officials declined to give more details on the suspects including their genders, though Dutchnews.nl and NRC Handelsblad have identified all four as being male.

There are also varied accounts of the suspects’ backgrounds. According to AFP, prosecutors identified them all as Dutch nationals, while the Dutch foreign affairs ministry said the four included three citizens and a Moroccan with Dutch residence status. Dutchnews.nl, on the other hand, reports them to be three Dutch Moroccans and one with a Somali background; NRC Handelsblad reports ‘three Dutchmen and a Somali with residence in the Netherlands’.

They are being detained "for further questioning" but have access to consular assistance and have been visited by Nairobi-based Dutch embassy staff, said ministry spokesman Herbert Brinkman.

Dutch media reported the four were suspected of having aided the Shebab Islamic militant group in Somalia but Brinkman declined to comment on this.

"We are awaiting the outcome of the investigation," he said.

In Kenya, a police officer who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said the four had been transferred to the capital Nairobi after initially being held in the coastal city of Mombasa.

"They have indicated that they are tourists. But it is not possible to believe that because none of them has documents or travel visas issued to tourists coming to Kenya," explained the official.

The radical Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab Islamists in Somalia have been battling the government and have admitted to receiving backing from foreign fighters in their bid to topple President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

Kenya, which shares a long border with the lawless Horn of Africa country, is wary of a possible attack on its soil and has been on the alert.

AFP / Expatica

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