TWO journalists of Kenya's relaunched The Star have been summoned by a
Mombasa Court to "explain" how they got information on a story that
security forces had twice lost files on Al Qaeda's top regional
operative Fazul Abduction Muhammad, writes Dennis Itumbi for

The headline story on July 20 said that the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit had lost the dossier of evidence accumulated after the abortive raid on Fazul’s hideout in Malindi last year.

The story, quoting multiple, albeit unnamed security sources, said the police had also lost a specially prepared Israeli forensic file on Fazul and the Kikambala bombings in 2002.

A day after the story was published the authors of the story and two editors were summoned and quizzed for several hours by the Anti Terrorism Police Unit who wanted them to disclose their sources.

However, they stood their ground and maintained "it is a cardinal rule that sources should never be revealed, if the Kenyan police want to break that law, we shall keep our moral obligation to our sources by not revealing their names no matter the pressure or intimidation."

Authors of the story, Investigations Editor Andrew Teyie and Crime Reporter Maina Kamore, plus their desk editor Catherine Gicheru were expected to appear before senior resident magistrate's court in Mombasa  "to explain where they got the information."

Police superintendent Dominic Mate, who sought the summons, says that the story was in contempt of court in a case where three family members are facing charges for allegedly hosting Fazul Mohammed.

The journalists’ lawyer Paul Muite said he would challenge the legal basis of the summons. "It cannot be contempt of court to say that a file has gone missing, furthermore revealing our sources has nothing to do with the alleged contempt of court."

The summons was served on the journalists on the same day the body of a prominent businessman suspected of associating with Fazul was found dumped in a city street.