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March 24, 2003
 
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Kenya to Hand Over Al Qaeda Suspect to U.S.

Reuters


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NAIROBI, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenya said on Monday it would extradite to the United States a suspected al Qaeda member accused of involvement in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi and an attack last November on an Israeli-owned hotel.

Kenyan authorities have not disclosed the identity of the suspect who National Security Minister Chris Murungaru has called "a very high ranking al Qaeda operative."

"Last week, the government announced the arrest in Somalia of a key terrorist suspect thought to have participated in planning and executing the 1998 bombing in Nairobi and last year at the Kenyan coast," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"This suspect will be extradited to the USA to stand trial as did the others," said the statement, which was released after a meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Kalonzo Musyoka and U.S. ambassador Johnny Carson.

Four suspects were convicted in the United States in May 2001 for their role in the 1998 twin bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam which killed 224 people including 12 Americans.

U.S. embassy officials declined to comment on Monday's meeting.

Kenyan police arrested the suspect, believed to be a Yemeni, in Somalia's capital Mogadishu last week after he was handed to them by Somali leaders, the head of Kenya's anti-terrorism unit, Mathew Kabetu, told Reuters.

Sources in Somalia said the suspect was arrested at a hospital after being wounded in a gun battle with militiamen. They said the man had married a Somali woman and was mainly involved in repairing boats used by Somali businessmen who import electronic goods from the Middle East.

However, he held several passports, including South African, Somali and Tanzanian.

Kenyan officials said his arrest was part of a probe into the November bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in the coastal city of Mombasa which killed 16 people and which the U.S. suspects was also masterminded by al Qaeda.

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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