Jan 25, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Family of Kenyan held in Guantanamo Bay speaks

The father-of-three, who was jailed in 2007, wrote letters to his eldest sister urging her to take care of herself, conversations that gave her hope.

These constant reassurances over 15 years did the family busted the detainee optimistic that he would be released.

The family of eight children held out their hope that their brother, who had been detained since 2007 after being linked to terrorism in Mombasa was going to be released one day.


When they saw media reports that he and Guled Hassan Duran from Somalia would be released by the US authorities, the Likoni family was overjoyed.

Ms. Abdalla, his eldest sister, said Bajabu’s wife is a nurse in her native Somalia, where she lives with her three children.

She refused to remarry and clung to their love .

“I know my brother is coming to visit me for a W hurry will stay while and then be reunited with his family. My brother was working in the fish business with his two Tanzanian friends when he was arrested in Kenya,” she said.

“I’ve been battling high blood pressure since my brother was arrested. When I heard the news today, I was so overjoyed that my pressure skyrocketed,” said Ms. Abdalla.

“But there is nothing in this world that God cannot do. We prayed in the hope that one day we would hear such information. I wish the authorities could confirm it for me.”

Ms. Abdalla said she will spend the night at Moi (Mombasa) Airport or Jomo Kenyatta Airport to welcome her brother.

“When I see him, I pass out. Unfortunately, our parents died while he was in prison, but we are happy. My brother suffered; it’s time for him to return home to his family,” she added.

She claimed she had been discriminated against, isolated and loathed since his brother’s arrest.

” There’s nothing I didn’t go through. Because of my brother, I was even suspected of being linked to terrorism. I raised him as my son.”

But the family is concerned for their relative’s safety once he is released. They said he was tortured in the foreign prison.

Bajabu, born in 1973, was arrested in February 2007 after being linked to terrorist attacks, including a 2002 strike at an Israeli hotel in Mombasa , which killed more than 10 people and injured scores.

In March 2007, the Kenyan authorities handed him over to the US for further transfer to Guantánamo Bay prison. The Pentagon once referred to him as a “dangerous terror suspect”.

“They linked him to alleged plans to attack a 2007 World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa. But he’s innocent. My brother is a humble, harmless and religious man,” Ms. Abdalla said.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation at the family home in Mombasa, she said they will not sue the US over Bajabu’s alleged torture .

On Tuesday, the Periodic Review Board, a US agency that determines whether inmates at the facility are guilty, announced the decisions in filings posted on its website.

< p>The panel is composed of senior US officials from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of Director of National Intelligence.

It announced the evacuation of Bajabu and Duran paved the way for their eventual release and transfer to secondary countries for rehabilitation.

Once a prisoner has been cleared for release, they cannot leave prison until the US has reached a diplomatic agreement with another country i.e as would take them.

Of the 64 prisoners who were cleared for release, 38 were listed for transfer and 26 were remanded in custody recommended for indefinite detention.

Thirty-six of the 38 Persons cleared for transfer were released from Guantanamo to their home countries or third countries.

“He said he had never been involved in terrorism; he told me to keep calm and hope he would be released, but I never had peace,” she said.

“My life changed when he was taken to the detention center. His firstborn is in college, another is in Form Three and the lastborn, who was three months old when his father was arrested, is 15. His wife will come to Kenya after he is released,” she said.

The father of three wrote letters to his sister, urging her to take care of herself.

On April 17, In November 2017, he wrote a letter that was seen by the nation, asking her sister to also look after her ailing father.

The four-page letter did not reach Ms. Abdhalla until March 2018, five months later Her father died of cancer after being ill for several years and undergoing six surgeries at a hospital in Tanzania.

Ms Abdhalla said her father died on December 22, 2017. He was buried the following day according to Islamic rites.

In the handwritten letter, Bajabu implores his eldest sister to be prayerful.

“He knew that because of my illness, I would never survive would. But when he comes we will grow together as a family for special prayers. I urge the government to take him in and give him freedom. He should not be harassed. If no wrongdoing was imposed on him then why should he suffer ?I will be his carer,” said Ms. Abdhalla.

She added, “When I spoke to him on Skype two months ago, he told me not to worry about him.”

He said his brother was looking forward to seeing his sisters and brothers and meeting some of the newest members of his family who were born while he was in prison.

“He was one of them , who went on a 92-day hunger strike in prison He underwent surgery after whom he had become very ill. He was tortured beyond human imagination; It’s only a miracle that he’s alive. He used to have bloody stools,” she said.

She said his brother was living in prison with three chains on him, although two were unlocked.

She said his brother was it now speaks English and Arabic as he speaks broken Swahili.

She said her brother’s business was booming in Somalia so he decided to return to Kenya to look for a house and bring his family back.

But he was arrested and taken to Nairobi.

“That was when police officers were hunting Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (now deceased). He was later flown to the United States. He was suspected because he was a member of the Islamic Party of Kenya. I know my brother, he’s not a terrorist,” she said.

Ms Abdalla said her brother studied at Tudor Primary School through eighth grade and later went to madrasa classes at Majengo. He then traveled to Sudan to study Islam.

Bajabu traveled to Somalia and joined the fish trade.

In 2014, a cell phone belonging to his younger brother Salim Khamis Khamsin was found confiscated by police and sent from Nairobi to Mombasa for questioning.

Mr Khamsin said officers took his phone and asked for his email address, Twitter name and passwords .

He said officers from the Anti-Terror Police Unit questioned him for hours about his life. They also wanted to know how he managed to own a house and a car despite being unemployed.