Man who conspired with terrorists to blow up KICC slapped with 20-year jail term

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 24 Feb, 2023 17:55 | 3 mins read
Victor Odede Bwire, the man behind the intended bombing of KICC building in court for sentencing. PHOTO/Nancy Gitonga

A man who conspired with terrorists in Somalia to blow up the iconic Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) building in Nairobi has been sentenced to serve 30 years in jail for the offence.

Victor Odede Bwire was handed the sentence by Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi who said terrorist activities are both a threat to human life and economic development.

"Even though the accused expressed remorse, this court takes judicial notice of the mass destruction of the innocent lives caused by the atrocities meted out by clueless and senseless terrorists who through weapons of mass destruction without caring about the damage it will cause," Magistrate Ochoi ruled.

In the first court of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, Bwire was sentenced to serve 10 years imprisonment while in the second count of collection of information in an attempt to commit a terrorist attack at the KICC building, he was handed 20 years in jail.

The magistrate said these sentences would be served concurrently. Meaning he will only serve 20 years in jail.

Ochoi dismissed his mitigation for a non-custodial sentence saying that the offence he committed does not warrant one to be committed to serve the community.

He further concurred with the date prosecutor that the offence is serious and beckons for a harsh sentence.

Search for wanted criminal

The court noted that freeing him at this moment would jeopardize the ongoing search for the most wanted international terrorist Mohamed Yare Abdalla whom the American government has placed a tag of USD 10 million on his head upon arrest.

Yale was also a conspirator of Bwire for the intended attack on KICC and other Government installations. He is also the mastermind of the Dusit terror attack which left scores dead.

In his mitigation Bwire through his lawyer, Chacha Mwita pledged to assist local and international crime busters in tracking down and bringing to book Yale in abide to tame terrorism all over the world.

The convict disclosed to the court he was roped and enlisted in the terrorism movement by Yare to earn a living and live well just like the affluent in society.

He also said that during his incarceration in Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, high-placed security personnel and senior government drawn from local and international agencies visited him to solicit vital information on the whereabouts of Yare and two others fugitives held up in Somalia.

The jailing of Bwire is a breakthrough in smashing terrorism within these regions of the horn of Africa.

Bwire's conviction

Bwire was found guilty and convicted by the court on January 16, 2023.

While convicting Bwire, the magistrate noted that he admitted that he had been enrolled to collect intelligence reports on KICC's security details, parking areas and its environs prior to the attack by terrorist agents.

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

Bwire is said to have been recruited in executing the planned attack by his cousin Elgiva Bwire.

His duties were to collect information on the security details at KICC, how searches are conducted at the entrances, and how many roadblocks are erected along Nairobi-Moyale-Wajir roads.

In his judgement, the magistrate stated that according to the prosecution, a forensic analysis of three phones seized from Bwire upon his arrest showed he had sent information on KICC's security arrangement to contacts in Somalia.

The phone forensic analysis also revealed that Bwire had been a terror agent who was receiving payments from a Somalia-based terrorist group including a terrorist by the name of Mohamed Mohammed.

Magistrate Ochoi further noted that Bwire confessed that he met with one of the terrorist masterminds Yare who sought crucial information about entry and exit routes.

"I admitted to the court that l informed Yare that l had visited KICC several times. During the meeting with Yare he sought to know the level and seriousness of searches of vehicles, luggage and persons at the entrance to KICC," Bwire said.

In his reply, the convict informed Yare that the searches were not serious, portraying a picture that security agencies were not alert at the premises. The court heard that the terrorist also sought to know the number of gates at KICC, he told them there were four entrances and the location also given and the distance from the gate to each building.

The prosecution alleged that the terrorist was seeking such information for purpose of carrying out a terrorist act at the premises and disputed Bwire's defence that the information he collected was for a Somali culture show which was to be held in Mid 2019.

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

Following the revelation, government security apparatus were deployed in the said buildings and undercover detectives were posted in key areas around the said target government offices to collect information and data that led to the arrest of Bwire.

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