Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Kenya’s anti-terrorism police are interrogating three Tanzanians over suspicion of being members of the Al-Shabaab terror group, officials confirmed on Monday.
The three foreigners, two brothers and a teenager, entered the neighboring East African country on July 28 and indicated on their pass they had come to preach as their reason for getting into the country.
The coast deputy regional police commander, Robert Kitur, confirmed the arrest of the trio at Boni forest in Lamu East district on Thursday as they were trying to sneak into Somalia.
"We have handed the three to anti-terrorism police unit for further investigation after they were found armed with machetes and binoculars at the time of the arrest, an indication they had interior motive," Kitur told Xinhua by telephone on Monday.
Police have identified the three as Jamani Ali Muswadiku, 30, Mabaruki Sharif, 26, and Haron Waziri Tinawa, 17.
Police suspect they have links with the Al-Shabaab terror group responsible for various grenade terror attacks that have been witnessed in the country.
"We are baffled by why the three could proceed to the volatile country of Somalia after claiming that they were on a preaching mission in the country.
"We believe the three disguised as preachers with an ill intention," Kitur said.
Police have intensified surveillance along the Kenya-Somalia border in Kiunga in Lamu East district as Kenya troops under the African Union (AU) force makes up the final attack on the port city of Kismayu.
The Lamu Archipelago is a popular route with foreigners attempting to cross into lawless Somalia to join Al-Shabaab.
Last year, three British youths were arrested in Lamu as they prepared to pass into Somalia from the Kiunga border point.
They were later deported.
Military officers at Ras-Kamboni in southern Somalia have also been put on an extra alert over what the regional deputy police commander said is the police’s commitment to completely seal the border against the extremists.
Kenya Navy Forces and Kenya Marine officers have heightened sea patrols manning the vast Kenya-Somalia border in efforts to thwart Al-Shabaab attacks.
Kitur said police officers have been dispatched to patrol the border road between Kiunga and Milimani at the border with Somalia with military officers stationed at the Dar es Salaam point at the border.
"The police troops comprise the General Service Unit, Regular Police and Administration Police all of whom are manning the border zone through a series of patrols," said Kitur.
The East African nation has been subjected to successive explosives attacks by Al-Shabaab operatives in the country following the onslaught by Kenyan soldiers on Al-Shabaab in Somalia after the militia staged a series of attacks along the Kenyan coast.
The recent bomb and grenade attacks came amid heightened security in Nairobi after Somali insurgents threatened reprisal attacks in Kenya for launching cross-border incursions in October last year.
The militant group has also come under pressure from Uganda, Burundi and Sierra Leone soldiers who recently pushed them out of the outskirts of Somali capital Mogadishu and other key regions they took control two years ago.
Since the Kenya military incursion into Somalia, several attacks believed to have been carried out by Al-Shabaab have occurred in Nairobi, Mombasa and northern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa and Dadaab—even as the military reported gains against the militants by capturing their military bases and killing scores of them.