NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s anti-terrorism police officers on Friday thwarted another terror plot and arrested five suspects who were planning to carry out a major terrorism attack in the coastal city of Mombasa over the weekend.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Regional deputy police commander Robert Kitur said the five suspects who are on the terror radar by both local and foreign security agencies were arrested from a bus while enroute to the Coastal city and recovered a pistol from them.
Kitur said the detectives had intelligence information the suspects were part wide terrorism network planning attack in Mombasa.
"Our officers are operating on highly placed intelligence reports of impending terror attacks in Mombasa and we have arrested suspects who are assisting us with investigation," Kitur told Xinhua by telephone.
Mombasa, the country’s second largest city and a major tourist spot is one of various cities targeted by a series of grenade attacks and abduction of foreigners in recent months.
Kenya’s tourism has suffered a decline in tourist arrivals since September 2011 after the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab kidnapped tourists in the Lamu archipelago and Spanish volunteers.
Kenyan authorities have enhanced security in major cities and all entry points and called on residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious individuals in their midst to security personnel.
There has been a string of attacks by Al-Shabaab militants and their sympathizers since Kenya sent troops into Somalia on October 2011 to subdue the insurgents who were blamed for a series of murders and kidnappings on the Kenya soil with Daadab district which hosts the refugee camps being one of the worst hit by the attacks.
The Al-Shabaab fighters have been responsible for a string of foreigners’ abductions and grenade attacks that occurred late last year that led to the Kenyan troops’ pursuit of the militia group into Somalia.
On Friday, the anti-terrorism police recovered a Ceska pistol from the suspects with reports that other weapons slipped police dragnet during the dawn operation.
"We believe they were armed with bombs for detonation but it’s not clear where they were hidden, we searched the bus but we did not recover them," Kitur said.
He said the security officers mounted the roads blocks along the busy highway as they made drastic efforts to track down the weapons.
The five were immediately bundled into the waiting police cars whisked away to anti-terrorism unit offices in Mombasa for further interrogation.
Security has since been beefed up in key installation hotels and buildings that were named as possible targets especial during the holiday seasons.