Police arrest six terror suspects

August 5, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 5 – Six more suspects have been arrested and questioned as the hunt for the Al-Qaeda terror suspect Fazul Abdullah Mohammed intensified on Tuesday.

Two of them were arrested in Malindi on Monday while three others were picked up in Mombasa on Tuesday morning.

The sixth suspect was arrested in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate during a raid on aliens residing there, police said.

“The operation is not only concentrated in Mombasa, we have other officers in Nairobi because we are dealing with a very dangerous and elusive suspect,” a senior officer involved in the operation said.

The officer, who is attached to the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU), said three of those arrested in Mombasa were questioned and released after police established that they had no link with the hunted fugitive, but three others are still in custody.

ATPU boss Nicholas Kamwende is leading an operation in Mombasa to search for Fazul, who evaded arrest over the weekend.

Three suspects believed to have been with him moments before he escaped were arrested and charged in court on Monday and are still being detained for further interrogations.

They include Ibrahim Mahfouth Ashour, his son Mahfouth Ashour and Ibrahim’s wife Luftia.

The two suspects said to be Fazul’s aides were arrested on Saturday night while Mahfouth’s wife was arrested on Sunday.

They were all charged with being an accessory to fifteen counts of murder, by harbouring Fazul.

Mombasa Chief Magistrate Catherine Mwangi ordered that they be remanded in custody until Friday when the court will make a ruling on whether they should be released on bail.

The ATPU urged the court to give them time carry out further investigations.

Capital News independently established that ATPU has sought the help of an expert to help come up with possible illustrations of the wanted Al-Qaeda man.

“We are getting information that he has really bleached himself and could be wearing a completely different image. The expert will help us come up with a good illustration,” our source said.

Security has been beefed up in entry and exit points both in Mombasa and Nairobi to avert any possible terror attack, at a time when the country marks 10 years since the simultaneous bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on August 7.

More roadblocks and security patrols have been intensified in various parts of the country including the main airports and five-star hotels.

“We are on high alert, there is no cause for alarm. Kenya is safe because we are adequately prepared,” another police source said.

“There are a lot of screenings at entry and exit points to ensure our country is safe from terrorist activities,” he added.

He said security agencies had learnt from past experiences ‘and we have really improved our surveillance and general preparedness. Let us not get into those details because we might be exposing ourselves and our operations’.

The officer is among those conducting the operation in search of the terror suspect in Mombasa.

He said they were still scrutinising data obtained from equipment seized during the weekend raid, when Fazul escaped the arrest by a whisker.


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