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Swede held in Kenya over suspected terror links

Kenyan police arrested a Swedish national suspected to have links with the Somali Islamist militia al-Shabaab, a senior police officer told AFP on Monday.

Swede held in Kenya over suspected terror links
Al-Shabaab militants in an undated file photo

“He is being interrogated on his mission in the country. We have reason to believe he has terrorism links (with al-Shabaab),” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe confirmed the arrest but declined to provide any further details.

The senior officer said police were seeking to determine if the suspect had links with a wanted German national who is believed to have entered Kenya illegally and could have information “on planned al-Shabaab criminal activities”.

The Swedish embassy in Nairobi could not be immediately reached for comment and a spokesperson at the foreign ministry in Stockholm declined to comment on the report..

“I’ve seen the media reports, but the foreign ministry hasn’t received any official information on the case,” Catarina Axelsson, a spokesperson with the Swedish foreign ministry, told the Expressen newspaper.

According to Kenyan news website Standardmedia.co.ke, the man is believed to have overstayed his visa and neglected to renew it.

“He has been charged with being illegally in the country and we intend to ask the courts to fine him before he is deported,” Kiraithe told the Kenyan news site.

The Swede is suspected of having ties to a German national wanted by police in Kenya who reportedly also planned to join al-Shabaab.

“He cannot account some of his time here and there are fears he may have gone to Somalia and came back to recruit more foreigners,” a senior police official who asked not to be named told Standardmedia.co.ke.

Al-Shabaab is an al-Qaeda-linked militia has waged a years-long insurgency against Somalia’s weak, western-backed transitional government and controls much of the south and centre of the Horn of Africa country.

Update:

The man later turned out not to be Swedish at all but hailing from Switzerland.

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BREAKING

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

Prosecutors in Sweden are now treating the murder at the Almedalen political festival as a terror crime, with the country's Säpo security police taking over the investigation.

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

In a press release issued on Monday evening, the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the 32-year-old attacker, Theodor Engström, was now suspected of the crime of “terrorism through murder”, and also “preparation for a terror crime through preparation for murder”. 

Engström stabbed the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren last Wednesday as she was on her way to moderate a seminar at the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland. 

Although he was a former member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, police said his motive seemed to be to protest against Sweden’s psychiatry services, who he felt had treated his own mental illness badly. 

The release gave no details as to why the 32-year-old was now being investigated for a more serious crime, but terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told the Expressen newspaper that the shift indicated that police had uncovered new evidence. 

READ ALSO: What do we now know about the Almedalen knife attack? 

“The new crime classification means that they’ve either found a political motive for the attack which meets the threshold for terrorism, and that might be a political motive for murdering Ing-Marie Wieselgren,” he said. “Or they might have discovered that he was scouting out a politician, or another target that could be considered political.” 

Engström’s defence lawyer said last week that his client, who he described as disturbed and incoherent, had spoken in police interrogations of having “a higher-up target”. 

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