Kenya: Journalist Laban Onserio to Know Fate Today After Arrest Over Stun Grenade Possession

Nairobi — An anti terror court will today rule on whether Standard journalist Laban-Cliff Onserio will be charged for possession of stun grenade and a police pocket phone.

The court had last Friday ordered the detention of Onserio for more three days as probe into claims of terrorism goes on.

But the court directed the Anti- Terror Police Unit to release him anytime before Thursday December 29 if they do not have anything to charge him with.

This means the cops could have released him on police bond if they deemed it feet.

They did not and are scheduled to present him in court on Friday.

The magistrate said then Onserio is not yet in the hands of the court and told police to release him if they do not have anything to charge him with.

Onserio was presented in court but police did not bring a charge sheet against him on December 23.

He had been in custody since December 18. He was presented in court on December 19 when police were given three days to hold him.

He is under probe for illegal possession of grenade at a church parking where he also threatened to attack guards there using it.

Onserio is a former Deputy Director of Communications at State House’s Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) and also worked at NTV.

He was arrested on December 18 morning at Nairobi’s Holy Family Basilica basement (2) by detectives after the grenade was found in his car by police who had been called in by the church’s guards to respond to an altercation that involved him.

The church runs a commercial parking facility that is manned by a private security company.

The guards said Onserio had parked his car at the facility to attend the Solfest Music Festival at the nearby KICC on Saturday night and only came to pick it up on Sunday morning while visibly drunk.

“His car was parked at level two, but he went up to level three where he started harassing a woman who was in the company of other people.”

The guards called the police who took over the case and conducted a search at his car, a Nissan X-trail and recovered a stun grenade, a pocket phone model GA-25 and two I-phones, police said.

Other officials said when he arrived at the church’s parking yard at around 4am Sunday he realized that he did not have his car keys and was dropped home by a friend. He then picked the car’s spare keys and went back to Holy Family Basilica.

At the parking, a scuffle ensured and he rushed to his car and picked the grenade which he threatened to detonate.

A stun grenade is one of the weapons that create loud explosions and a very bright flash of light.

It is mostly used to cause disorientation, a sense of panic, temporary blindness, and temporary loss of hearing.

The security then called in detectives from ATPU who took over the case and detained him pending his arraignment in court.

He was produced in court on Monday where police sought to detain him for five days.

Police said Onserio could not give satisfactory reasons why he was in possession of the flash bang grenade and neither produce a certificate allowing him to be in possession of the said explosive device.

In affidavit filed at the Kahawa anti-terror court police said the suspect told detectives that he acquired the grenade from a British national, Don Smith said to be currently working with Fly 540.

The officers were also seeking for a search warrant as they believe he could be in possession of more grenades.

The detectives also wanted time to conduct a forensic examination of the gadgets before they charge him with the appropriate charges.

He is said to be remorseful over the incident.


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