Al Shabaab militant group displayed two of their Kenyan captives in a mosque in the coastal town of Barawe, Lower Shabelle region, where the two Kenyans surprisingly announced their conversion to Islam and as a consequence were freed “without conditions” as mentioned by the official al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Dheere who also attended the ceremony. “These two men are now free without any conditions, they are free to do as they wish and to go where they desire, whether they stay here or go back to their country is entirely up to them. They are our brothers now and are free” said Sheikh Ali Dheere.
The two men who identified themselves as 52-years old James Kiarie Gichuhi and 28-years Daniel Njuguna at the ceremony also confirmed their conversion to Islam after what they said was “good treatment they received from al Shabaab” and after an “invitation to Islam”, they further mentioned that they had taken the Islamic names “Abdurahman” and “Abdullah” respectively. The two men also mentioned that they hail from the Kikuyu tribe and were from the Muranga district.
According to James Kiarie Gichuhi who spoke at the event, he was captured at the end of 2011 inside Kenya by al Shabaab members who at the time were fervently carrying attacks inside Kenya. Whilst speaking at the mosque, Gichuhi mentioned that the Kenyan government was “responsible” for his capture due to their “invasion of Somalia”.
Daniel Njuguna who was also captured around the same time mentioned that he was captured inside Somalia by al Shabaab members. Despite the release of these two Kenyan captives, al Shabaab claims to hold more Kenyans as captives, their fate and locations remain unknown.
Source: Somalimemo Online, Feb. 24, 2014, titled “Two Kenyan hostages freed by al Shabaab“.