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Kenyan police kill two in raids on suspected militants' homes

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kenyan police shot dead two suspected militants on Monday who they said were planning attacks in the country on behalf of Somalia's al Shabaab.

During a dawn raid on a house in the port city of Mombasa, police shot Kassim Omollo after he defied orders to surrender and returned fire, senior police officer Thomas Sangut said.

Police arrested Omollo's wife, who gave information that led them to the home of the second suspect, Salim Mohammed Nyiro, also known as Abdullahi.

"He, too, defied and tried to draw a gun... but our officers gunned him down," Sangut said.

Police found weaponry including assault rifles, grenades, a pistol, ammunition and improvised explosive devices at the properties, Sangut said.

Kenya has suffered a series of grenade and gun attacks since it sent troops into neighboring Somalia in October 2011 in pursuit of insurgents it blames for kidnapping security personnel and Western tourists from its territory.

The attacks, which have targeted the capital Nairobi, Kenya's Indian Ocean coast and its border with Somalia, have rattled investors and tourists in east Africa's biggest economy.

Al Shabaab, which is linked to al Qaeda and wants to impose a strict version of Islamic law across Somalia, could not immediately be reached to comment on whether the suspects were in their ranks.

Police believe Omollo was an al Shabaab trainer and bomb-making expert and they had been trailing him for more than a year.

"He has been changing residence all the time. Today we would trace him in Kenya, tomorrow we would hear he is in Somalia. He is the main man who has been behind the radicalizing and training of Kenyan youth in Somalia," Sangut said.

"We had information that he had come back here to plan terrorist attacks in Mombasa and Nairobi."

Shabaab has been substantially weakened in the last two years, losing Mogadishu and swathes of central and southern Somalia to Kenyan troops fighting as part of an African Union force.

Rebels have managed to continue making low-level raids across the border into Kenya.

(Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)


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