A Mandera Court on Tuesday granted the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) orders to detain 12 Islamic clerics for five days in police custody pending investigations.
The suspects were arrested on October 4 on suspicion of radicalising and recruiting youths to join Al-Shabaab in Mandera County.
The ATPU had requested 14 days to question the suspects, but Mandera Resident Magistrate Dancun Mtai declined, only allowing five days.
In his ruling, Mr Mtai said the court was fully aware of the threat of terrorism to Kenyans and its prevalence in Mandera.
He, however, noted that it should not be a reason to arbitrarily hold suspects in police custody for a period longer than necessary.
“Consequently, to strike a balance between the applicant’s duty to secure the country against acts of terrorism by facilitating investigations herein that is devoid of any interference and the suspects’ constitutional right of liberty, I grant the following order that the suspects be detained for five days pursuant to the provision of section 33 of the prevention of Terrorism Act,” ruled Mr Mtai.
The suspects include Yusuf Maalim Ahmed, Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed, Mohamed Hassan Osman, Abdi Mohamed Ahmed and Abdiaziz Hassan Issack.
Others are Abdi Adan Elmi, Adan Ibrahim Issack, Osman Abdullahi Mude, Ahmed Abdi Mohamed, Ahmed Noor Adan and Mohamed Ahmed Sheikh.
According to a sworn affidavit by Corporal William Leirapu of the ATPU, the suspects were arrested in a mosque in Hareri on the outskirts of Mandera Town.
Hareri Location, which is in Lafey Sub-County, has been marked by the police as one of the most notorious areas regarding Al-Shabaab activities.
This has led to the closure of the Mandera-Lafey-Elwak road on which 28 people, mostly teachers, travelling in a bus heading to Nairobi were killed by Al-Shabaab militants.
The case will be mentioned on October 12.