Briton faces Kenya bomb plot trial


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The Independent Online

A British man accused of links to Somalia's Islamist militants is to stand trial in May for allegedly plotting a bomb attack in Kenya.

Jermaine Grant, 29, was arrested with three Kenyans in the coastal city of Mombasa in the East African country in December.

His lawyer, Chacha Mwita, claimed in court in Mombasa today that the Briton is being held in solitary confinement and suffered beatings to force him to confess.

The Kenyan authorities allege that Grant is connected to the al Qaida-linked rebel group al-Shabab in Somalia.

He has already received a three-year jail sentence for entering Kenya illegally using false documents that claimed he was a Canadian called Peter Joseph.

Grant, from Newham, east London, will face trial on May 9 charged with possessing explosive materials and planning an attack.

There is heightened concern about the terror threat that Somalia's Islamist militancy poses to the Horn of Africa region and beyond.

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned last month that terrorists could be in the final stages of planning attacks on official buildings and tourist sites in Kenya.

Britons are thought to make up about 50 of the estimated 200 foreigners fighting with al-Shabab in Somalia, according to a recent Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) report.

Rusi director-general Professor Michael Clarke noted: "Those who survive tend to return in a matter of months or perhaps a year, and it is only a question of time before their commitment to the cause, and their newly-acquired expertise, are likely to be seen on British streets."

The British Government will host an international conference on Somalia in London on Thursday, at which co-operation on counter-terrorism will rank high on the agenda.

On a visit to the strife-torn African nation earlier this month, Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "For the security of the UK, it matters a lot for Somalia to become a more stable place."