Ali Gichunge, a KDF sergeant, has told investigators that he was last in contact with his son Ali Salim Gichunge alias Farouk in 2015 only to see him on tv.
He was shocked to learn that he was among the six riverside attackers,The attack claimed 21 lives.
The father of DusitD2 terrorist Ali Salim Gichunge, alias Farouk, lost touch with his only son four years ago and had no idea he had secretly joined al Shabaab.
Born and bred in a strict Muslim family in Isiolo, Farouk had great ambitions of becoming an engineer. He never missed his madrassa classes at his rural home in Isiolo where he grew up.
His father hailed from Isiolo, his mother Salma Gichunge came from Majengo in Nyeri.
After high school in 2011, Farouk went to stay with his maternal grandparents in Nyeri’s Majengo slums.
Yesterday Farouk’s father told investigators that his son had big dreams when he sat his KCSE exams at Isiolo Barracks High School in 2011.
He revealed his son’s character and personality in police statements.
Gichunge described his son as a brilliant calm and collected person who brought joy and laughter to the family.
He suspects his son could have lost focus in life after he separated from the boy’s mother in 2010.
Farouk loved drama and occasionally took part in drama competitions at his school and during madrassa classes.
However, Farouk did not attain grades that allow him to join university where he could study engineering.
His father said he kept in touch with his son, even after separating from his wife, and According to Farouk’s father, he kept in touch with his son even after separating from his wife and supported financially until 2015 when he lost contact.
“I could no longer find him on the phone and had no idea where he was,” Gichunge is reported to have told the police.
After failing to join university, Farouk stayed with his mother at their home in Isiolo where did menial jobs such as selling miraa in the estates.
He later left Isiolo for Nyeri and in 2015 went to Mombasa where he planned to study and teach Islamic religion at a mosque in Majengo area of Mombasa.
And as soon as Farouk left Nyeri, he cut links with his father but remained in constant communication with the mother and her two sisters who are still in school and living in Isiolo. His mother, Salma Gichunge was due to record a statement last evening.
The father says in his statement that he had called his estranged wife several times to ask about his son, who had also changed his cell phone number.
He complained that the mother had told him that she also did not know his son’s whereabouts but he doubted this. He concluded that the mother wanted to lock him out of his son’s life. Thus, he decided to concentrate on raising his new family with a second wife.
The father further told investigators that he was in shock to see images of his son circulating on social media during the DusitD2 hotel complex terror attack on Tuesday.
The KDF sergeant suspects his son could have been radicalised while studying at a Mombasa mosque where he was also a part-time madrassa teacher.
“He was tapped from Majengo in Nyeri, then taken to Mombasa where he could have been radicalised,” the father said.Yesterday Nyeri county commissioner Fredrick Shisia told the Star that a multi-agency team was already on the ground to investigate Farouk, his upbringing and associates.
Nine people have been arrested following the attack. The Red Cross yesterday said that the 50 people who had been reported missing have been accounted for.
One suicide bomber blew himself up, five other terrorists were killed. A seventh man is on the run.