A senior criminal analyst has told a trial court in Nairobi  that the suspects held over the September 2013 Westgate terrorist attack, communicated on mobile phones with the four attackers killed at the mall.

They communicated during the planning, execution of the attack , the analyst who said he sifted through “mountains” of  call data records to come to his findings, told the court.

Paul Maingo’s testimony builds up a picture of how al-Shabaab interacted with accomplices throughout the planning and execution of the Westgate Mall attack, the court heard.

Conclusions arising from the analysis include evidence of a phone used by a man among the terrorists who did not enter the mall, one used earlier by one of the terrorists killed in a counter strike and which was later recovered from one of suspects in the case as they had shared a handset in Nairobi’s  Eastleigh estate prior to the attack.

“I established that the four suspects who died in the mall had links with accused persons in court,” the senior police officer said.

Call data records

He said Call Data Records (CDR) obtained from mobile phone service providers,”and the geographical locations” helped establish there was an association with the terrorists. “At one time they were in Eastleigh(estate)…one of the accused persons cellphones was found in that area…”the witness said.

The officer explained that the fourth accused Hussein Mustafa was in communication with one of the terrorists, Abdinur, who also used the handset at one stage and they had exchanged 40 calls and sent two text messages between August 27 2013 and September 18 2013

Abdinur used the handset to send money to Mogadishu, Somalia,the trial court heard.

“Accused persons had direct association with cell phones used by the attackers…” the witness said.

He said a meticulous  analysis of piles of call data records “revealed the linkage of attackers with the suspects arrested, the connection of the terrorists with the crime scene and the link of the terrorists with the car they purchased,paid and used  in planning the execution of the attack .”

Shared handset

“At one time a hand set was shared… the hand set was recovered from accused number two…,” the expert witness said.

He explained in court how he exploited the phones IMEI number and found a SIM card which was recovered at the scene used by Abdinur had been slotted in it at one stage.

He said the registration had been done under fake identities but six numbers in the IMEI find revealed  the gunman Abdinur received calls from accused number4,1,2.

“The number of accused nuber4 was slotted into the equipment…” the detective added.

Five numbers were used in the day of the attack, the witness said.He clarified that only four gunmen stormed the mall while a fifth remained outside.

Day they came to Kenya

He said the suspects on trial were in communication with the attackers from the day they came to Kenya through Uganda.”They were the first to be contacted,” he said.

The witness denied there was manipulation of the data profiles to fix the suspects as the state had “to have some take the blame.”

“I did not manufacture or manipulate data used for this analysis,”the witness said

Hearing continues.