Tags: FBI | Team | Expands | Terrorist | Probe | Africa

FBI Team Expands Terrorist Probe to Africa

Tuesday, 25 September 2001 12:00 AM

The Kenyan police Tuesday confirmed that they had received a list of suspects sought by US investigators in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.

A senior Kenyan police officer affiliated with Interpol, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the list of some 200 names was received Sunday and is being examined at the sub-regional office of Interpol (International Police) located in Nairobi.

The official said security was being tightened at Kenya's borders with neighboring nations and all other entry points and ports.

Saudi Arabia dissident Osama bin Laden, whom the US government accuses of masterminding the September 11 attacks, has already been indicted by a US federal court in connection with the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7, 1998. Over 250 people died, including 12 Americans.

"The FBI agents are now combing villages on the Kenyan coast for terrorist cells suspected to be linked to the suicide attacks in New York and Washington," said the police source.

The agents, accompanied by Kenyan police, are visiting the country's most popular tourist coastal towns of Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu. Most of the region's inhabitants are of Arab origin with Islam as their main faith.

The FBI team is particularly interested in suspects identified after the bombing of the United States embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam three years ago.

"The detectives could be retracing their investigations into the Nairobi US embassy bombing, which took them to a sleepy Kenyan coastal Island of Witu, where one of the terrorists had lived before coming to Nairobi," said a Western diplomat in Nairobi.

A senior public affairs official at the US embassy in Nairobi, who spoke on condition that he is not named, confirmed the presence of the FBI agents. He said the team will widen its investigations to several other East and Central African nations, to which some of the suspects may have fled.

For instance, the FBI is expected to expand its investigation into Zambia, Sudan and Somalia.

The United States government believes that a list of 200 suspects given to the Kenyan police includes the names of people connected to or who possess valuable information related to the al-Qaeda network, which is led by Saudi exile Osama Bin Laden.

The investigations are part of a world-wide dragnet targeting associates of bin Laden.

Names of the suspects have also been circulated to other African nations, including Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa.

A Tanzanian national, Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, and a Saudi national were recently convicted of mass murder in connection with the US embassy bombings in Africa and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Two others have been convicted of conspiracy and also received life sentences.

Prosecutors said the convicts operated through terrorist cells of bin Laden's Al Queda network in Kenya and Tanzania.

Sudan pledges to cooperate

The Islamist Sudanese government has pledged to fully co-operate with the US in tracking down those behind the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail was quoted Tuesday as saying that his country will give the US the necessary co-operation in the fight against terrorism.

Sudan is one of seven countries listed by the United States as a sponsor of international terrorism. Between 1991 and 1996, Sudan hosted bin Laden.

Several Islamic extremist groups including Hezbollah, Hamas and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad also have had bases in Sudan.

But Khartoum's Islamic government says they were all expelled.

During his stay in Sudan, bin Laden was involved in agriculture and construction, the government says, adding that his businesses were liquidated when he left the country. It is unclear whether he still has investments in the country.

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The Kenyan police Tuesday confirmed that they had received a list of suspects sought by US investigators in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. A senior Kenyan police officer affiliated with Interpol, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the...
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2001-00-25
Tuesday, 25 September 2001 12:00 AM
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