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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Suspects carrying bomb-making materials arrested near border with Somalia

A handout released by IntelCenter shows members of Somalia’s hardline Islamist rebel group al Shabaab. Photo/FILE

By the way: guess what this weapon is - it is not your average RPG....

  • Suspects carrying bomb-making materials arrested near border with Somalia as police heightened surveillance following Al-Shabaab threats

Police are trying to establish whether three suspects arrested on the Kenya-Somalia border have any connections with Al-Shabaab.

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Anti-terorism officials were also said to have increased security for the Ugandan High Commission in Nairobi over terrorism threats, unit chief Nicholas Kamwende said.

Mr Kamwende said police had information that the Uganda High Commission was likely to be hit and they were closely monitoring the area.

And Diplomatic Police boss Allan Sangoro said patrols and surveillance had been enhanced in most foreign missions in Kenya.

“We would not want to state who is targeted more than the other, but what I can say is that all the missions are adequately covered,” said Mr Sangoro. He said some of the officers were operating covertly and had been briefed adequately.

Military spokesman Bogita Ongeri acknowledged that Al-Shabaab posed a credible threat to Kenya and the entire region, and even beyond.

Mr Ongeri said Operation Linda Nchi was going on well and normalcy had been restored along the border with Somalia. He also urged the militia group to fight its own wars, and not extend its aggression to Kenya.

“A time comes in the life of any nation to choose between submission and aggression,” said Mr Ongeri in a commentary published elsewhere in this newspaper.

The increased surveillance comes against the backdrop of the arrest of a Sudanese national who was in possession of bomb making materials including powder, matches and assorted wires.

Two other suspects who were travelling in the same vehicle, which was intercepted by police at Liboi on the Kenya-Somali border, are also in police custody helping with investigations.

Police are trying to establish why the men were transporting dangerous items and whether they have anylinks to the extremist militia group.

The trio was travelling towards Somalia and was arrested at the border after the Somali-based militia issued threats to Kenya that it would bomb public places.

Kenya police had already issued a terrorism alert and asked the public to be on the lookout following the threats.

North Eastern provincial police boss Leo Nyongesa said police were questioning the foreigners.

“We are investigating the suspects to establish their motives and whether they have any links to the Al-Shabaab militia,” he told the Sunday Nation on the phone.

As the Easter festivities kicked in, police in major towns were on high alert, guarding crowded shopping malls, while passengers travelling to various destinations were subjected to thorough scrutiny to ensure explosives were not smuggled into passenger buses.

Mr Nyongesa said surveillance would remain high along the porous border.

Kenya has in the past suffered Al-Shabaab related attacks that resulted in death in Nairobi.

The war against terrorism has been complicated by reports that the militia has been recruiting Kenyan youth to join its terrorism networks.

The rag tag militia, which has been fighting over control of war-torn Somalia with the internationally backed Transitional Federal Government forces, has been a constant threat to regional security and has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks including bombings in Kampala, Uganda, in which more than 70 people were killed.

The Rest @ The Nation (Kenya)

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