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It was Olatunde, not Tunda: Kenyan police

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 24, 2006 21:07 IST
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A suspected terrorist arrested by the Kenyan police five days ago has turned out to be a British national, but security agencies are wondering how he was initially said to be one of India's most wanted militants, Syed Abdul Karim alias 'Tunda'.

Denying that Tunda was the arrested man, the Kenyan police informed the CBI that 'the person who was arrested by them was one Ismoila Olatunde Rufai on the suspicion of his involvement in terrorist activities. He (Olatunde) is a British passport holder, born in London, to Nigerian parents and that he has been deported from Kenya to the United Kingdom of Great Britain on July 24, 2006'.

Tunda, founder of the Laskhar-e-Tayiba in India and wanted for several blasts in Mumbai, Delhi and other places in the country during 1993-98, was said to have been arrested in the port city of Mombasa with two others on Thursday night.

Earlier, the news reports from Mombasa quoting police had said the arrested person was Tunda.

The Kenyan police have said that the other two detained persons -- Abdul Hussein Mumin and Abdul Gulgalo -- were also not Indian nationals but Kenyans of Somali origin from cities of Sornail and Borant.

"They have been interviewed in connection with the enquiry regarding an abandoned motor vehicle and subsequently released," the communication said.

Efforts were on to ascertain how the news of arrest of Tunda had emerged in the first place. The Indian high commissioner in Nairobi, Surendra Kumar, is understood to have approached the Kenyan Foreign office for a meeting with an official of the level of foreign secretary for this purpose, official sources said.

The Kenyan officials had conveyed to the Indian mission on Saturday that the person picked up in Mombasa was not disabled below his wrist onwards. Tunda, while making a bomb in early 1990s, had lost his hand.

The CBI has sent a dossier on Tunda and the business interests of Dawood Ibrahim in Mombasa to the Indian mission in Nairodi. Besides this, contacts were established with the local attache of the Federal Bureau of Investigations to seek their help in ascertaining facts about the allegations of Tunda's arrest.

Tunda is classified as a 'most wanted terrorist' and linked to the Kikambala bombing, in which at least 17 people were killed in November 2002, a newspaper report from Kenya had said.

The CBI had secured an Interpol Red Corner Notice against Tunda after he fled from the country in the mid-1990s. He carries a cash reward of Rs 3 lakh on his head.

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