NAIROBI, Kenya — Three alleged international human traffickers who are suspected of smuggling recruits for the Islamic State and helping to finance the group have been arrested in a town on Kenya's coast, police said Thursday.
Police spokesman George Kinoti said the two Kenyans and a Somali were arrested Monday in the coastal town of Malindi.
Somali-born Ali Hussein Ali is accused of being recruited by the Islamic State group after he left Kenya in 2010 and "deployed" back to the country in November, Kinoti said. He also is accused of facilitating the transfer of money to the Islamic State in Libya, concealing its purpose by transferring it through several countries.
Ali allegedly is part of the Magafe human smuggling network in Africa that also engages in the kidnapping for ransom of immigrants going via Libya toward Europe, Kinoti said. Ransom money is channeled through informal money transfers to finance the Islamic State, he said. Ali is accused of overseeing the extortion of at least 10 families of Kenyans kidnapped in Libya with ransoms demanded of up to $7,000, Kinoti said.
The two other suspects, Kenyans Ibrahim Abasheikh Mukhtar and Abdi Mohamed Yusuf, are accused of housing Islamic State recruits and driving them through borders. Mukhtar owns several houses on Kenya's coast, Kinoti said, and Yusuf is a long-distance driver.
Kenya has been trying to stop the recruitment of its youth by extremist groups, notably al-Shabab in neighbouring Somalia. Some recruits have carried out some of the deadliest attacks in Kenya's history, like the Garissa University attack in April 2015 that killed 148 people. The Somalia-based al-Shabab claimed responsibility for that attack, calling it retribution for Kenya's sending troops to fight the militants.
Hundreds of Kenyan youth have joined al-Shabab, making them its largest contingent of foreign fighters.
Tom Odula, The Associated Press