Kenya on alert of Al Shabaab

September 20, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 20 – Kenya has beefed up security along the Somalia border to guard against attacks by insurgents from the neighbouring lawless country following last week’s reported killing of wanted terrorist Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan.

Military Spokesman Bogita Ongeri said “security measures taken are adequate and therefore there is no cause for alarm.”

“We have taken extra measures. There is enough security at the border points, it has just been increased and this is a review we do from time to time,” he said without elaborating.

“The recent development and attacks can not be taken lightly and that is why teams manning the border points are more vigilant,” Mr Ongeri added when reached on telephone by Capital News.

Although he was unwilling to elaborate on the specific measures taken and the strengths involved, military sources said more security personnel had been sent to Liboi, Garissa and Wajir, which are key entry points.

“Security in these areas was increased on Friday, more officers in truck loads have been arriving to carry out patrols. Others are also using helicopters,” a senior officer in the military ranks said.

In Nairobi and other key towns in the country, police presence remained tight, particularly at security installations, government buildings and at both domestic and international airports.

All five star hotels which are usually a target for terror groups were also closely monitored by security forces sources said.

“Security in the country is reviewed from time to time, this is the case now and it has just been increased. We are guarding against any forms of crime including terrorism. We never take chances,” Head of Police Operations at Police Headquarters Julius Ndegwa said without elaborating further.

Nairobi Provincial Police Chief Njue Njagi told Capital News “my officers are always on high alert at all times, not only on specific period of time, but whenever there is need to increase our security we do it. And that is what has happened.”

He too did not wish to disclose any special measures taken, only assuring that “we always do everything possible to ensure Nairobi is safe.”

Sources in the intelligence ranks revealed they had advised various state security organs to be cautious lest they be caught flat footed by organised gangs and terror groups, following the latest developments in Somalia where Al Shaabab militia men launched suicide attack at the African Union (AU) headquarters, killing at least nine peacekeepers and other officials in what was seen as a reprisal on the killing of Nabhan by American forces.

International media have termed the events leading to Nabhan’s killing the “biggest military operation in the country since the Black Hawk Down disaster” some 16 years ago.

Nabhan, a 30-year-old Kenyan was wanted for a series of terror attacks in the East African region, notably the 2002 Kikambala bombing.

It is believed he actively participated in organizing the bombing and specifically built the bomb that destroyed an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa and missed by a whisker an Israeli airliner which was targeted by a missile.

He was traveling in a convoy near the coastal town of Barawe when American commandos in six helicopter gun ships attacked their vehicles, killing him and four other commanders of the Somali insurgent group al Shabaab.

He and other commanders are reported to have been traveling to a meeting for insurgent leaders in Barawe, one of the towns in Somalia.

Also killed in the attack is Sheikh Hussein Ali Fidow, a senior commander of the Shebab militia group strongly linked to Osama Bin Laden’s Alqaeda terror network.

His body is reported to have carried away by the US commandos to a US Fifth Fleet warship nearby for identification but it is unclear if the body is still there.

His family in Kenya last week said they had not received ay official confirmation of his death and condemned the Kenyan government for remaining silent over the matter.

Nabhan’s family which includes his parents, wife and children are Kenyans and live in Mombasa where they said he had not been seen for the last seven years.


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