Laban-Cliff Onserio arrested over bomb possession

Laban-Cliff Onserio, the chief of staff for the Standard Group, was detained after reportedly possessing a stun grenade on Sunday, December 18, in the Holy Family Basilica Church.

The prominent journalist was detained by members of the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) after they discovered him in possession of the explosive device in the church's parking lot-turned-basement.
On Monday, Laban-Cliff Onserio was charged in the Kahawa Law Courts.

However, he was not charged with any crimes after the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) submitted a request to keep him in custody for a further five days so that police could finish their inquiries.

Investigation officer Vincent Mutai said, "The court is delighted to give a detention order that Onserio be detained for five days starting from today at Anti-Terrorism Police Unit Headquarters in Nairobi to allow the police to complete investigations."

The officer added that the journalist is being looked into for offenses related to terrorism, including having explosives.

In accordance with the court documents, the scribe threatened members of the public with an impending attack while wielding a flash-bang training system model 7290T stun grenade at the time of his detention.

According to Mutai, the journalist was detained by a multi-agency team that arrived on the spot after getting word from the police control room that Holy Family Basilica was under threat of terrorism.

The officer stated to the court that upon arrest, the journalist was unable to provide adequate justifications for why he was in possession of the flash-bang grenade or present a document authorizing his possession of the explosive device.

The officer said that initial investigations indicate that Onserio obtained the flash-bang grenade unlawfully in 2021 from Don Smith, a British national who is currently employed by the Fly 540 airline.

The item had been sent to the bomb disposal and hazardous unit to be forensically inspected, according to Mutai, who informed the court that reports have not yet been collected and processed.

"The mobile phones that were confiscated from his possession have been sent to our ICT laboratory for forensic testing; however, analysis and reports must yet be collected in order to confirm any terrorist connections," the official continued.

The investigators also want Onserio held so they can speak with the British High Commission about the British person the journalist disparaged.

The court was informed that the investigators had yet to collect Onserio's call data records for a full investigation and follow-ups with the people he had contacted.

The state is asking the court to grant them five days, arguing that the investigations into the matter are complicated and need more time.

They also claim that several agencies are involved and need the time to interview the journalist again and conduct additional research into the matter.

"The actions of terrorists and their associates must be fully investigated," Mutai said.

"Their activities pose a great risk to the national security and security of the entire peace-loving human race in the world."

Onserio's release on bail was opposed by the prosecution because they feel it will impede continuing investigations into his other friends, who police believe have not yet been detained.

The officer stated, "Onserio is a flight risk, and he might interfere with our investigations."

He should thus remain in detention until careful examination of his potential terrorist actions."

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