Security agencies are warning that an Al-Shabaab pilot wanted by the Anti-Terrorism Police (ATP) may be planning an aviation attack on Kenyan soil.
The agencies describe Rashid Mwalimu, currently in Somalia, as an armed and dangerous man who is on a mission to conduct an international aviation attack on behalf of the terror group.
According to a statement, the security agencies are now calling upon the public to volunteer information that may lead to the arrest of Mwalimu, who allegedly joined Al-Shabaab in 2015.
The ATP says that having studied aviation at the All-Aisa aviation Academy in the Philippines, the Al-Shabaab operative has the expertise to conduct a plane while airborne. ATP also believes Mwalimu will be attempting to sneak back into the country, therefore should not be allowed to board any plane.
“Indeed, they had already completed their training and were conversant with flying and landing planes and all mechanical application in a plane though they had not acquired international licences. However, for a successful attack, all they needed to do was board a plane as ordinary passengers and thus licences would not be a hindrance to an attack,” reads the statement.
Mwalimu is said to have escaped a police dragnet that led to the arrest of his accomplice, Cholo Abdi Abdullah on 1st July 2019 in the Philippines. Both Mwalimu and Cholo were studying aviation at the school.
Sources say that the duo were also close associates of Salim Gichunge aka Faruq, the leader of Dusit D2 terror attack in Kenya. Between 2015 and 2016, Mwalimu and Cholo took part in several IED attacks in Boni area, Lamu County.
“Rashid, Cholo and Gichunge arrived in Somalia at the same time and were immediately set aside for training as part of the Al Shabaab intelligence, the Amniyat. While on training, they met up with OSMAN GEDI, another DUSIT D2 attacker. The four formed a close bond and were always together.
“When the airstrikes began in earnest, Al-Shabaab picked on the four for external attack. GICHUNGE and GEDI were selected for an attack in Kenya, while RASHID and CHOLO were picked to train as pilots and subsequently be deployed to hijack aircraft.” added the statement.