Identity of suicide bomber at 14 Riverside revealed
Published on: January 19, 2019 01:25 (EAT)
Days after the horrific terror attack at 14 Riverside Drive, the identity of a lone terrorist who blew himself up before his colleagues made their way to the office and hotel complex has been revealed. The attacker who blew himself up shortly after 3pm on Tuesday, outside Secret Garden Restaurant, is Mahir Khalid Riziki. He was a 25-year old man born and raised in Majengo area, Mombasa County. Detectives say he was recruited into the terror world by Ramadhan Hamisi Kufungwa, now in Somalia, after attending prayers at Musa mosque. For almost a decade, the mosque has been associated with radicalisation, recruitment of al Shabaab and religious extremism. Efforts to flush out the radical elements have been ongoing. Intelligence reports say Mahir has been on anti-terror police unit’s radar since 2014, when he was part of an al Shabaab team that was killing security officers in the coast region. He was, according to police sources, involved in the killing of an officer at royal court hotel. He the fled to Tanzania when his image was circulated by police as a wanted criminal, before he moved to Somalia in 2015 and confirmed to his family that he had joined the terror group. Detectives are also probing his wife, Suhaila Mwalim Bakari, who is said to have been in contact with the attacker in November and December last year, yet she did not disclose this information to the police. Mahir, according to detectives, sneaked back into the country last week, through Elwak in Mandera county then to Takaba and boarded a Moyale Raha bus in Marsabit town heading to Nairobi. He then moved to Guango estate, Mucatha in Kiambu county where the attack ring leader Ali Salim Gichunge resided, and received instructions on his role in the 14 riverside drive attack. Intelligence sources say Mahir arrived at the attack scene earlier, and was constantly in communication with Gichunge. His brief in attack, according to detectives, was to detonate his suicide vest, kill as many people as possible at the Secret Garden restaurant and also signal his colleague attackers to shoot at people who would be fleeing as a result of the blast. However there was a timing disconnect between Mahir and the other attackers, that fortunately enabled many people to escape and were evacuated to safety by security officers who responded to the attack promptly.