Court convicts man accused of plot to bomb KICC in 2019

Victor Odede Bwire

Victor Odede Bwire at a Nairobi court on January 16, 2023. He was found guilty of collecting information about KICC and the security of the building. PHOTO | SAM KIPLAGAT | NMG

A Nairobi court has convicted a man accused of being part of a plot to bomb the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in 2019.

Victor Odede Bwire Alias Abdulaziz was found guilty on Monday of conspiracy to attack the 28-storey iconic building by collecting data and information about it and sharing the same with terrorists in Somalia.

The intention was to assist in bombing the building, prosecutors said. The information was being shared through Facebook.

The Terrorism Act provides that an offender convicted of the offence of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years.

For the offence of collection of information for purposes to commit a terrorist act, an offender is also liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years.

Also read: Ex-maritime PS sues staff as she fights for global job

Milimani senior principal magistrate Bernard Ochoi convicted Bwire after he found him guilty of two offences — conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and collecting information in a bid to commit a terrorist attack.

He committed the offences on January 23, 2019, jointly with others and together with Mohamed Yare Abdalla, who is not yet arrested.

The court found that the prosecution had proved the two criminal counts beyond a reasonable doubt.

Delivering the judgment, the magistrate noted that Bwire admitted that he had been enrolled to collect intelligence reports on KICC’s security details, parking areas and its environs.

The convict had opened three Facebook accounts, which he used to collect data and disseminate the same to the Somalia-based terror group, Al-Shabaab, as well as two masterminds of the intended attack, including Mohamed Yare Abdalla.

The three Facebook accounts were opened using various pseudonyms including Kezia Frozen.

Bwire is said to have been recruited in executing the planned attack by his cousin Bwire Engiva, a self-confessed terrorist and ex-convict who in 2011 pleaded guilty to masterminding two terror attacks — one at the Gikomba Market and another at the once popular Mwaura’s bar in downtown Nairobi.

Engiva was sentenced to 10 years in jail, which he completed in 2021 and disappeared.

In the intended attack on KICC, the court said Bwire’s duty was to collect information on the security details at KICC, how security searches are conducted at the entrances and how many roadblocks are erected along Nairobi-Moyale and Nairobi-Wajir roads.

In his judgement, the magistrate stated that according to the prosecution, forensic analysis on three phones seized from Mr Bwire upon his arrest showed he had disseminated the information to contacts in Somalia.

Analysis of his communication gadgets also revealed that he had been a "terror agent who was receiving payments from a Somalia-based terrorist group including a terrorist by the name Mohamed Mohammed".

The court further noted that Mr Bwire confessed that he met with one of the terror masterminds named Yare, who sought crucial information about the entry and exit routes of KICC.

He admitted to the court that he informed Mr Yare that he visited KICC several times. During the meeting with Mr Yare he sought to know the level and seriousness of security searches on motor vehicles, luggage and persons conducted at the entrance to KICC.

The convict informed Mr Yare that the searches were not serious, portraying a picture that security agencies were not alert at the premises.

Also read: Haji halts tax evasion case against CA chair

The court heard that the terrorist also sought to know the number of gates at KICC, and Mr Bwire told them there were four entrances and the locations.

The court also observed that the evidence adduced before it by an American FBI detective Mr Scott John gave links to the impending terror attack on government buildings in the capital city including Supreme Court, KICC and NSSF buildings in Nairobi.

[email protected]