Kenya: Police alert over fresh Al-Shabaab raid fears
Security agencies have stepped up surveillance following reports that terrorism suspects have sneaked into the country.
Intelligence sources say the suspects, who were being trained in Somalia, are planning to carry out attacks.
The Saturday Nation has learnt that intelligence agents have positively identified the suspects.
Consequently, surveillance across the country, with a special focus on the airports and other entry points, has been increased.
Officers have been directed to screen, upon arrival into the country, all travellers from Somalia, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Kenya Airports Police Unit commandant Mr Joseph ole Tito yesterday said that the reverse screening was meant to ensure that dangerous travellers, who as a result of a security breach at the point of origin escaped the check, do not get into the country.
“Even connecting passengers should be screened before their flights or being let loose in the sterile area of our airports,” said the officer.
Though incidents of security breaches had been reported in the past, the focus has now shifted from passenger screening only.
Security agents have been conducting covert crackdowns, leading to some arrests but the manner in which the suspects were dealt with has not been made public.
Specialised teams of officers from the National Intelligence Service, Anti-Terrorism Police Unit and CID’s Criminal Intelligence Unit have also covertly been working in the places identified as potential targets.
Additional officers have been sent to airports and border points, and screening has also been heightened at the airports.
The commanders are under firm instructions to leave nothing to chance and even keep a close eye on workers at these points.
A senior officer, who sought anonymity, however admitted that this posed a big challenge to the special teams.
“The greatest challenge is the big number of workers responsible for maintaining, fuelling, catering, cleaning, servicing and loading the airplanes,” he said.
Another intelligence report has shown that some of those behind the last attacks in Lamu County belonged to a new cell of terrorists also trained in Somali.
It indicates that the bulk of them were the Mombasa Republican Council youth who had just returned to Kenya.
The first batch of the attackers reportedly crossed into Kenya through Kiunga on June 25, 2014.
Meanwhile, anti-terrorism police are seeking a court order to deport a Somali national arrested last week for being in the country illegally. The man had initially been arrested in Eastleigh on suspicion that he was Hassan Hanafi, a former journalist who is accused of killing his professional colleagues in Somalia.
Mr Hanafi is an official of Al-Shabaab, group which has been executing strings of attacks in the country.
The BBC had on Wednesday quoted a source from Somali security forces saying Mr Hanafi had been arrested in Nairobi following co-operation between the intelligence services of the neighbouring countries.
But a source at Anti-Terrorism Police Unit Friday said the man, who is locked up at Pangani Police Station, denied he was Hanafi after interrogation and insisted he had come to seek treatment in Kenya.
And he is said to have crossed the border using cut lines where he managed to find his way to Nairobi.
“If he has not committed an offence in his country, we cannot charge him in court and the best we can do is to deport him.
“We are planning to go to court and seek for an order to deport him,” the source said.