Kenya: Yemeni ‘soldier’ detained until translator is found

Written by NY Staff

STANDARD MEDIA — A former UN security guard arrested on Friday last week will be detained until an Arabic translator can be found.

Walid Ahmed Suleiman was presented in court yesterday but was not charged for lack of a translator.

Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti rejected a proposal from the prosecution to provide a translator from the police department, citing possible conflict of interest.

On Friday, County Commissioner Maalim Mohamed said Mr Suleiman was a soldier from Yemen, but reports suggest he was once employed as a guard by the UN Mission in Yemen.

A photograph found in his album shows him in uniform and armed with an AK-47 rifle.

“The court has rejected a police interpreter because of conflict of interest. You must look for a neutral person for the translation,” said Mr Ogoti.

The county commissioner claimed that the alleged soldier arrived in Mombasa through Somalia, raising suspicions about his mission. The claim was confirmed by intelligence sources who also indicated that Suleiman arrived in the coastal city by bus from Nairobi last Thursday.

It was not clear how he crossed to Nairobi from Somalia or which military faction he belongs to in Yemen although some sources had indicated that he was employed as a guard.

Yemen has been torn by civil war for close to five years. The military split into two, with one group rallying to the side of Shia rebels and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the other supporting the internationally recognised regime of Abdu Rabbo Mansur.

Much of the country is controlled by terrorist militia and has been under bombardment by a Saudi-led coalition of Muslim states.

Intelligence sources indicated that Suleiman has co-operated well with the detectives amid reports that he might be deported.