July 29, 2009 / 12:07 PM / 8 years ago

Kenya arrests four Dutchmen near Somalia border

MOMBASA, KENYA (Reuters) - Kenyan police are questioning four Dutch passport-holders who were arrested on suspicion of aiding Somalia’s al Shabaab insurgents, a local government official said on Wednesday.

The four men -- three who were born in Morocco and the fourth in Somalia -- were stopped by police on Monday while on their way to Kiunga on the Kenya-Somalia border.

“The al Shabaab group has been receiving humanitarian and technical help from foreigners and we suspect the people we have in custody were in that area to do exactly that,” Stephen Ikua, Lamu district commissioner, said.

Al Shabaab insurgents have been battling Somalia’s federal transition government since 2007, dashing hopes of a return to stability for the lawless horn of Africa nation.

Kenya, along with the rest of the international community, views the situation there as threatening regional stability and providing a haven for al-Qaeda linked groups.

The four suspects, all aged 21 according to their passports, said they were tourists despite the fact that there are no tourist attractions where they were arrested, Ikua said.

“They had hired a tractor which was taking them to Kiunga, on the Kenya-Somalia border. Their journey is definitely suspect and we believe their activity is connected to the al Shabaab group in Somalia,” he said.

Leo Nyongesa, head of police in Coast province, said the four would be moved to Nairobi before the end of this week.

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