Terror suspects moved to Nairobi

April 24, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 24 – Three suspected members of the Al Shabaab terror network who were arrested in Liboi on Friday night have been moved to Nairobi  for interrogation by detectives from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit.

North Eastern Provincial Commissioner Joseph ole Serian told Capital News the suspects were briefly detained in Garissa before they were handed over to the ATPU detectives.

They were arrested as they tried crossing back into Somalia.

"Security agencies are trying to establish their mission in Kenya; how long they had stayed here and what they were up to," he said.

The PC revealed that those arrested were a Sudanese, Ugandan and Somalia nationals who are suspected to have links with the Al Shabaab.

"These suspects are still in custody but they are with the antiterrorism department who are interrogating them," he said on telephone.

"We remain on a high alert because the threat of terrorism is real.  Our security personnel are under firm instructions not to take any chances, particularly at the border with Somalia," he added.

Kenya has been under a renewed terror alert since Thursday night when Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere announced that they had received credible intelligence reports of possible terror attacks in public places during the Easter weekend.

He said police headquarters had received credible intelligence reports that terrorists were planning possible violent attacks at shopping malls, places of worship, recreational areas and even government buildings.

"In the light of this, we wish to inform the public that police headquarters has received intelligence that the Al-Shabaab terrorist group has threatened to carry out violent attacks on certain targets in our major population centres," a statement from the police headquarters on Thursday said.

Consequently, the Commissioner said he had ordered the management of places facing possible threats to beef up security, and notify police of any suspicious activities.

He said police had enhanced security at government buildings and would also increase patrols in all parts of the country, particularly within targeted areas.

"We wish to assure the public that in conjunction with other security services, we have taken measures to improve security in and around the possible targets by among other things increasing security surveillance patrols," the police chief said.

On Sunday, the North Eastern PC said they would remain vigilant even after the Easter holiday.

"Let it be known that we are not only alert during the Easter festivities… our intelligence network is firm on the ground and the security will remain tight," he said and urged members of the public to be wary of aliens especially those with suspicious movements.

"Some of these people introduce themselves as aliens from Somalia yet they don\’t have a single document to prove that.  Others walk with papers that are not authentic… these are the people we need to scrutinise and we will largely rely on the help and cooperation of the public," he added.

And apart from being vigilant at the common border points, Mr Serian urged the public all over the country to remain alert "because terrorists are not those who have not come to Kenya, there could be people around who are linked to them."

"That is why we are saying that people should know their neighbours, those in the hotel and transport industry should be wary of people they accommodate in their rooms or those they carry around," he said and urged management of hotels to always demand identity cards from their clients.

He said he had instructed personnel under his command to be on the lookout for "people who have made it their business to smuggle aliens into the country."

"These are the people who are bringing problem to this country.  We are trying to fight terrorism yet they are busy associating with them because all they look at is the money they get out of it and not the risks involved," he warned of the dangers posed by people who cooperate with aliens.

The Al Shabaab, who control large swathes of Somalia and have been engaged in a bruising insurgency against the internationally backed transitional government, have repeatedly expressed their displeasure with Kenya\’s stand on the conflict.

Kenya, which shares a long and porous border with Somalia and has offered assistance to government troops battling the insurgents, has frequently expressed fears that Shabaab suicide bombers would strike in Kenya.

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