Police confirmed yesterday that detectives from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and German were interrogating a terrorist suspect, German national Emran Erdogan (24), accused of being an operative of Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab terrorist groups.
Erdogan allegedly participated in executing terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and Somalia recently.
International media reported yesterday that Tanzanian police are holding Erdogan, a man hunted by Kenyan police following a blast in Nairobi’s Moi Avenue that killed one person and injured more than 30 people.
According to Reuters, Erdogan, a German national of Turkish origin, was also known by the name of Salahuddin al-Kurdi. But police didn’t confirm claims of him carrying out attacks in Kenya.
Acting Director of Criminal Investigation Issaya Mungulu told reporters in Dar es Salaam that Erdogan, who was also known by the name of Abdurahaman Othman, was an Al-Qaqeda operative suspected of carrying out attacks recently in Afghanistan and Somalia, where he collaborated with Al-Shabaab.
He said the suspect entered the country from Kenya alone and was arrested on June 10, this year in Dar es Salaam. He informed that he was being interrogated by defence and security organs in collaboration with detectives from other countries.
“We shall give feedback to you after completing the interrogation,” noted Mungulu.
He thanked members of the public who provided information that led to the arrest of the suspect. “This has demonstrated the real meaning of community policing,” stressed the deputy DCI.
International news agencies reported yesterday that police were holding Erdogan in connection to a bomb that tore through a trading centre in the heart of Nairobi on May 28.
According to political scientist Dirk Baehr and German media, Erdogan traveled to Waziristan in northwest Pakistan in early 2010 and joined a militant Islamist group.
He then went to Somalia last year and was suspected of joining up with the al Qaeda-linked militant group, Al Shabaab.
"The German suspect is in police custody in Dar es Salaam in relation with terrorism investigations. He is being questioned by the police as we speak to get a written statement from him," a Tanzanian police source, who declined to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters.
Kenya sent soldiers into Somalia in October last year to fight al-Shabaab. Since then, there have been a string of grenade and bomb attacks in the capital Nairobi, Mombasa and the north of the country near the border with Somalia.
Earlier this month, the Ugandan police said they too were hunting for Erdogan and another German terrorism suspect, as they believed they had sneaked across the border from Kenya.