Reports have emerged indicating that Ali Gichunge, one of the Dusit hotel attackers, is the son of a Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldier.

Gichunge, alias Farouk, is the son of KDF Sergent Abdala Salim who was summoned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

One of the Al Shabaab attackers who terrorized Dusit Complex
One of the Al Shabaab attackers who terrorized Dusit Complex

The attacker's mother Ms Sakina Mariam was arrested in their hometown of Isiolo and brought for interrogations in Nairobi.

Crossing into Somalia

Ms Mariam is said to have reported Gichunge's disappearance in 2015 when he's suspected to have crossed into Somalia.

Gichunge is suspected to have visited Majengo slums in Nyeri to join other radicalized youths.

His step-sister, Ms Amina Shariff, was quoted by a local daily saying she told her mother that they should forget about him as death would let us know where he is.

She narrated how her brother might have been exposed to radicalization after working in Isiolo at a cyber cafe and also desired to enroll online for a course on religious studies.

Strict upbringing

We were born into a strict Muslim family and I do not understand how he turned this way. Our father is a KDF soldier, and that should tell you the kind of childhood he had. Our parents did not fail him, he chose to walk down this dark path,” Ms Shariff stated.

In early 2016, Gichunge told his family that he had moved to Mombasa to work at a construction site on the invitation of a friend who later informed the family he had lost touch with their son.

Police officers at the DusitD2 hotel compound
Police officers at the DusitD2 hotel compound

Alarmed, the family reached out to Gichunge, who told his mother he had landed a scholarship to study Islam in Uganda and Tanzania.

Ms Shariff recalls getting an anonymous phone call from Gichunge who informed her that he was in Lamu on his way out of the country, which made her change their interactions because she suspected he was heading to Somalia.