By Yassin Juma
Three women on Monday were remanded in police custody in Mombasa pending investigations after having been arrested by security forces at the border with Somalia for allegedly planning to travel to Syria.
"From our interrogation, the Tanzanians confessed to officers in Mombasa that their intention was to enter Somalia and meet a certain… Al-Shabaab member who backs Daesh," Nelson Marwa, Mombasa County Commissioner, told The Anadolu Agency.
The three young women, one Tanzanian and two Kenyans, appeared before the Mombasa Law Court's resident magistrate, Irene Ruguru.
But charges were not pressed against them, as prosecutors requested six days in which to investigate the case.
The three women were not allowed to enter a plea, while a request for bail by their lawyer, Hamisi Mwadzogo, was denied.
The three, arrested on Saturday near El Wak, a Kenyan town less than 10km from the Somali border, are currently being held at three different Mombasa police stations
One of the Kenyans is a student at the private Mount Kenya University, while the other is a student at Mombasa's Burhaniya College.
Both are aged 19 and hail from the coastal town of Malindi.
The 21-year-old Tanzanian girl, meanwhile, is a medical student at Sudan's University of Khartoum.
According to Marwa, the alleged Al-Shabaab member – who had been communicating for months with the women through social media – was to arrange for their travel to either Syria or Iraq.
The Daesh militant group now controls large areas of both Iraq and Syria. It also commands the allegiance of smaller militant groups in several Arab and African countries.
In addition to militants from different countries, Daesh has also attracted several, mostly western, women and girls.
Some of them end up marrying militants to become what has become known as "Jihadi brides."
A Kenyan security official told AA that another three Kenyan female university students – who had also intended to sneak into Somalia – had been arrested at the border on Friday.
According to the authorities, the trio had planned to meet a contact in Somalia to help them travel on to Daesh-controlled territory in Syria or Iraq.
It is the first time Kenyan women have been arrested with the alleged intention of joining a jihadi group abroad.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.