NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A Kenyan court in the coastal city of Mombasa Thursday sentenced to death a suspected extremist for setting off a grenade that killed one person at a club.
While giving the sentence, Judge Martin Muya described Thabit Yahya Jamaldin ,35, as a “merciless killer who should not deserve mercy.”
Jamaldin had intended to cause multiple deaths on May 15, 2012 with grenades and would have done had it not been for a female bouncer who prevented him from accessing the establishment, prosecutor Jami Yamin said in his closing arguments. The bouncer died after Jamaldin returned and threw three grenades, one of which went off, also wounding him, leading to the amputation of his leg.
Jamaldin was rushed to the hospital with five of his wounded victims but became the main suspect when his alibi did not add up.
Kenyan authorities enlisted the assistance of the United States FBI agents who were able to match Jamaldin’s DNA and that of samples taken from the crime scene and items in a bag found in a bus heading to Nairobi. Investigators said Jamaldin intended to leave Mombasa after the attack.
Authorities link the incident to numerous attacks attributed to Somalia-based al-Shabab extremists who have vowed retribution for the Kenyan troop presence in Somalia. Kenya troops are part of the African Union forces bolstering Somalia’s weak government against al-Shabab’s insurgency.
Al-Shabab killed 148 people, mostly students of Garissa University in an attack on April 2, 2015.
This version corrects that grenades, not one grenade, were used.