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Jermaine Grant in Kenya court over bomb plot

Category: Headlines

Published: 9th May 2012 11:55:19

A Briton accused of Islamist extremist ties has appeared in court in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa.

Jermaine Grant, 29, was arrested last December and denies allegations that he was planning a bomb attack and possessed explosive materials.

The Londoner, who Kenyan authorities say is linked to Somali militants al-Shabab, has already been jailed for being in the country illegally.

The case has been adjourned until Thursday amid chaotic scenes in court.

The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Mombasa says Mr Grant sat expressionless in the dock.

But after some confusion in the courtroom, Mr Grant was taken into the judge's office and the trial was adjourned for a day.

Mr Grant is standing trial with three Kenyan co-accused.

The charge sheet says as well as possessing bomb-making equipment, they planned to make an explosive device with the intention of causing loss of life.

A recent report by security think-tank the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) claimed Britons accounted for about 50 of the estimated 200 foreigners fighting with al-Shabab.

The British government's high-profile Somali Conference in London earlier this year was prompted, in part, by the fear of what these battle-hardened and radicalised young men might do if they return to the UK, our correspondent says.

From Newham in east London, Mr Grant was first detained in Kenya near the Somali border in 2008, but escaped police custody.

He is said to have been sprung from a police station by a group of militants belonging to al-Shabab.

Last October, Kenya sent troops into Somalia to pursue the al-Qaeda linked group, blaming it for a recent wave of abductions which threatened its tourism industry.

Al-Shabab denied any involvement and said the Kenyan incursion was an act of war and it would take revenge.

The group is now under pressure on a number of military fronts in the south of Somalia - but still mounts frequent attacks and controls much of the country.

This year the African Union force in Somalia, which supports the UN-backed interim government, was boosted from 12,000 troops to nearly 18,000 to incorporate the Kenyan troops.

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