Kenya on high terror alert

February 17, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – Kenya’s security agencies have moved to quickly enforce security at potential targets, a day after Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti announced the country was at risk of terror attacks.

There was an immediate increase in security deployments at all local and international airports where all vehicles were methodically screened before being allowed entry.

“We are not taking any chances.  These threats are real and cannot be ignored. There are instructions to have thorough checks on all vehicles coming here,” a senior officer with knowledge of the latest security arrangements said on condition of anonymity since he was not authorised to speak on the matter.

At the Jomo Kenyatta and Moi International airports in Nairobi and Mombasa, security was beefed up late on Monday with thorough checks of both human and vehicular traffic entering and leaving the airports.

More security personnel were also deployed to border points in Mandera, Turkana and Lamu.

Police fear Somalia extremists may be plotting to launch terrorist attacks due to Kenya’s co-operation with the United States of America in fighting terrorism.

“When I say there are terror threats in the country, I am not dreaming. This is a serious matter,” Internal Security Minister Professor Saitoti said on Monday.

Another source told Capital News, the National Security Intelligence Service had raised a red flag on terror threats and warned relevant security agencies to take the matter seriously.

The CID-based Criminal Intelligence Unit had also warned of another planned attack on Prime Minister Raila Odinga who was likely to be targeted aboard helicopters he frequently uses, according to informers.

The Premier had also received an anonymous threatening text message on his mobile phone.

Although Professor Saitoti did not mention specific terror threats on any government individual, the timing of his statement soon after meeting with provincial police chiefs in Nairobi was a clear sign that there was cause for concern.

“We are faced with numerous security challenges, this includes terrorism threats, piracy and emerging organised gangs,” he said.

A senior police office told Capital News that meetings held at the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit in Nairobi on Monday and Tuesday had resolved that all its officers deployed countrywide to take up the task.

“Some have been deployed to Mombasa, airports and border points. Those in Mombasa and border points are monitoring specific people or anyone associated with terrorists,” he said.


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