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Police seize cache of ammunition and weapons at Shanta Abaak
Friday, August 31, 2012

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Kenyan police on Thursday seized more than 2,000 bullets and an AK47 assault rifle from a passenger’s vehicle heading Nairobi from the clash-strife Mandera town bordering the war-torn Somalia.

Regional deputy police commander in charge of operations Abdallah Shariff said the two men suspected to be the smugglers of the lethal cache were also arrested and are undergoing interrogations from detectives at Lagdera police station.

Shariff said the bus christened Desert Cruiser, carrying the firearms, was detained for over six hours as security officers using metal detectors ransacked luggage and passengers for more weapons possible hidden.

Shariff said the two men suspected to be the transporters of the firearms were been questioned by the police over the movement of the large consignments of the ammunition amid growing insecurity the east African nation.

"We have arrested two men who were travelling in the bus from Mandera whom we suspect to be the owners of the bags stashed with ammunitions," Abdalal said by telephone.

"Police interrogation on the two suspected has given us crucial clues on the destination of the massive weapons," he added.

The cache of ammunitions was intercepted at police roadblock at Shanta-Abaak area which is at the border of Wajir and Garissa districts at 09:30 a.m. (0630GMT) on Thursday morning by security officers acting on public tip-off.

Ironically, the bus travelling from Mandera border town managed to pass over 10 barriers and police patrol units scattered all over the road from Mandera to Nairobi, just to be intercepted less than 400 km from Nairobi.

Shariff said security officers have been deployed to the northern region to pursue Al-Shabaab militia and their sympathizers residing in Kenya.

The northern region has faced a series of attacks believed to have been carried out by Al-Shabaab.

The militia have targeted Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa and Dadaab counties of northern Kenya even as the military reports gains against the militant group in southern Somalia.

The bomb, grenade and landmine attacks in the east African nation have escalated since October last year when the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) entered neighboring Somalia to fight militant group Al-Shabaab.

The al Qaida allies were blamed for kidnapping tourists, thus sabotaging Kenya’s economy as visitors cancel their bookings for safety reasons.

Shariff said the latest seizure came after police acted on a tip-off by a member of the public who is said to have overheard the suspects discussing the prospects of transporting more heavy fire arms from Somalia through the Mandera route because of the security laxity in Nairobi-Mandera road.

It was not clearly established whether the ammunitions were destined to Mombasa where youths had been holding demonstrations following the murder of controversial Islamic cleric on Monday.

Shariff said ammunition were the ones commonly used and the AK47 assault rifles used by majority of the urban criminals to commit felony against innocent civilians.

"Preliminary  investigation indicates the luggage stashed with weapons was addressed to Nairobi and we are holding two gentlemen who are helping us with investigations," said the police boss.

Shariff noted that if the weapons would have reached illegal hands, criminals could have caused a lot of damage and deaths among innocent people.

He urged the local people to keep on volunteering vital security-related information to the police to forestall activities of criminals.


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