BY MOSES MWENDA AND DANIEL KALUNG’E FOR WWW.EDAILY.CO.KE
“A God-fearing man, who was loving, responsible, outgoing and had zero tolerance for alcohol” are the words friends of Isiolo-born and bred suspected terrorist, Ali Salim Gichunge, used to describe their old buddy, who relocated from the area in 2015.
Police reports claim that Gichunge coordinated the terror plot by keeping in touch regularly with the four terrorists, who were killed by security forces in Dusit complex early Wednesday.
Waso Location chief, James Chuchu, confirmed the given description of Gichunge, adding that his family “lived in harmony” with their neighbours at Kulamawe in Bulapesa ward, Isiolo County.
“No one ever complained about Gichunge or any member of his family. They were friendly and transparent in their dealings,” Chuchu told EDAILY.
The administrator reveals that Gichunge, 23, was raised by his mother, Sakina Mariam, after his father, Abdalla Salim, deserted them.
Salim worked as a driver with the Department of Defence.
Gichunge’s childhood friend, identified as Moses Kinyua, said: “He [Gichunge] was a cool person who oozed of innocence during our time at Hekima Primary School.”
“He left Isiolo a few years ago, and I could not keep tabs on his behaviour, thereafter,” Moses told EDAILY.
Gichunge, a Kibiricha Secondary School alumnus, who was famously known as Farouk in Isiolo, posted admirable education results, his friend Moses Kinyua, who was a class behind Gichunge at Hekima Primary School, said.
“I am shocked. Not even in my wildest imaginations would I have thought that he would one day be linked to terror-related activities,” said Kinyua.
“My heart goes to the families of all those who lost their lives in the terror attack, and also those whose loved ones were wounded in the cowardice act,” said Kinyua.
Ironically, Gichunge, in his younger years, advised his peers against joining any terrorist group or subscribing to radical lessons.
Gichunge’s mother, Sakina Mariam, was arrested at her Isiolo home on Thursday, January 17 and taken to the Anti – terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) offices in the county before being transferred to the DCI headquarters in Nairobi for further interrogations.
The Dusit terror attack, which left 21 civilians dead, lasted 17 hours, with its culmination being the killing of four terrorists.