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Last Updated: Monday, 2 February, 2004, 13:27 GMT
Mombasa bomb suspects go on trial
Aboud Rogo Mohammed, Omar Said Omar, Mohamed Kubwa, and Mohammed Ali Saleh Nabhan
The Kenyans have been under pressure to bring charges
The trial has begun in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, of four men on murder charges relating to the 2002 suicide bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa.

Fifteen people, including three Israeli tourists, died in the attack on the Paradise Hotel in November 2002.

The prosecution aim to show how the suspects helped plan the attack and their links to the al-Qaeda network.

However, the men's lawyers say that the evidence against them is vague.

The trial was due to start in January, but defence lawyers were given more time to vet three assessors who will assist the judge in reaching a verdict.

The four suspects - Aboud Rogo Mohammed, Mohammed Kubwa, Omar Said Omar and Mohammed Ali Saleh Nabhan are all Kenyans.

Airliner targeted

" They had frequent communication with network members and they rented houses for short periods, moving from one house to another to avoid suspicion" prosecutor Edwin Okello told the court

The first witness called, Issa Kombo Issa, said he lost his national identity card in 1997 and that in December 2002, police called him in to identify photos that turned out to be of him.

Authorities believe that one of the suspects, Omar Said Omar, used the alias, Issa Kombo Issa, when renting the houses in Mombasa.

The prosecution expects to call more than 100 witnesses in an attempt to prove the suspects planned the attack and helped to assemble the bomb.

Most of the Kenyans who died in the bombing were members of a local dance group who were welcoming hotel guests.

Wreckage of the Paradise Hotel
The bombing devastated Kenya's tourist industry
A simultaneous rocket attack on an Israeli airliner that took off from Mombasa airport failed.

A group linked to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which dealt a severe blow to Kenya's once thriving tourism industry.

Both the US and UK have since warned of the threat of more terror attacks in Kenya.

Three other Kenyans have been charged with conspiring to carry out the attacks, but are being tried separately.

Kenya has come under pressure to prosecute people involved in the attacks, which severely damaged Kenya's tourism industry.




SEE ALSO:
Kenya mourns a year after attack
28 Nov 03  |  Africa
Kenya protests at US warnings
04 Dec 03  |  Africa
Bombers 'planning Kenya attacks'
02 Dec 03  |  Africa
Major attacks blamed on al-Qaeda
25 Nov 03  |  Middle East
Country profile: Kenya
22 Nov 03  |  Country profiles


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