Family blames moguls for kin’s arms trade saga

Mombasa (Caasimada Online) – Zakariya Kamala Sufi Abashiekh, a businessman previously residing in Mombasa, has been implicated in a controversial arms shipment from China to Somalia.

The Somalia National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) recently announced Abashiekh’s arrest, alleging that he attempted to flee to regions dominated by the al-Shabaab terrorist group.

Further digging into this incident paints a more convoluted picture. A credible source, Dahabo Haji Isse, identified as Abashiekh’s cousin, released a verified social media statement.

Isse alleges that influential businessmen exploit young Kenyans in foreign countries to smuggle illegal goods across borders, often unbeknownst to them.

Isse said, “He [Abashiekh] started a business in East Asia and China. He has been exploited by Somali businessmen, fulfilling their demands in return for commissions.”

Abashiekh’s background

Mr. Abashiekh, a Mombasa native, was born in Ganjoni. His academic journey began at Arya Primary School, and he later moved to Mvita Boys for secondary education.

Following his studies, he traveled to China, where he pursued a degree in Computer Science for five years.

Described as an average student, Abashiekh’s transition from academia to business in China raises eyebrows given the current allegations.

While his business dealings are scrutinized, Abashiekh’s personal life has a contrasting narrative.

His father, Kamal Sufi, revealed that Abashiekh was engaged, with wedding plans already in motion. However, these plans were abruptly halted due to his unforeseen arrest.

Abashiekh’s initial arrest took place on April 28, 2023, at Mama Ngina Waterfront Park in Mombasa by the ATPU officers.

He was subsequently arraigned in Shanzu Court in May for the alleged arms shipment to Somalia but was granted bail for Sh1 million.

Yusufi Sufi, Abashiekh’s uncle, passionately stated, “It is unfair. He should be presented before the court if they believe he has a case to answer.”

The family’s concern deepened when, on September 5, 2023, Abashiekh was allegedly abducted by unidentified men in civilian attire.

Kamal Sufi, the businessman’s father, narrated the chilling incident, “While coming home from work, some men forced him inside a white Land Cruiser. We haven’t seen him since news of his arrest in Somalia emerged.”

Calls for justice and NISA’s stance

While Abashiekh’s family, represented by attorney Jared Magolo, is clamoring for his presentation in court, rights advocacy group Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) has intervened, expressing concerns over the apparent resurgence of enforced disappearances in Kenya.

Sheikh Khelef Khalifa, the Director of Muhuri, implored the Kenyan government to act, emphasizing the gravity of the situation.

NISA, on the other hand, portrays Abashiekh as a central figure in an international arms trafficking syndicate.

In a firm statement, they expressed their determination to combat terrorism and its associates, vowing to “advocate for the anti-oppression and violence against the Somali population, both within and beyond our borders.”

As this case unfolds, the juxtaposition of Abashiekh’s seemingly regular life in Mombasa against the grave accusations presents a poignant reminder of the multifaceted nature of international crime.