MOMBASA, Kenya, Apr 25 – A day after a Kenyan court found a British national, Jermaine Grant guilty of being in a possession with explosives-making materials, the British Government has now sponsored a Sh60 million anti-terrorism centre in the coastal town of Mombasa.
On Wednesday, a Mombasa Magistrate’s Court ruled Grant was guilty and will be sentenced on May 9.
He was arrested in December 2011 in Kisauni alongside his wife Warda Breik Islam and Frank Ngala with bomb-making powder and electric wires but the two co-accused were acquitted.
On Thursday, just a day after Grant’s conviction, British High Commission to Kenya Nic Hailey was at the Coast for the ground-breaking of the Anti-Terror Police Unit Centre at the Coast Police Headquarters.
Speaking during the brief event, Hailey said the UK is committed in helping Kenya fight terrorism to protect both the UK citizens and locals.
“The UK is very proud to sponsor the new building of the ATPU here in Mombasa. We have seen, tragically, in the recent months and years the effects of terrorism menaces. It has struck us in UK it has struck us here in Kenya and recently in Sri Lanka,” said Hailey.
He said the threat of terrorism ignores borders.
“We all know that this is a threat that ignores borders, a threat which requires international cooperation in acquiring of intelligence in order to combat. Our partnership with the Kenyan government in combatting terrorism is the one of the most important mission that our country has with Kenya,” he said.
The new state-of-the-art building will be ready by the end of the year.
Kenya’s Director of Criminal Investigation George Kinoti said the idea of putting up a new ATPU Headquarter in Mombasa was conceived six months ago by the British High Commission office in Kenya.
He said this new office will make Kenya safe from the threats of terrorism.
“With the ground-breaking of this new centre, in the near future, we will no longer sit and be an environment where criminals can find grace,” said Kinoti.
In a 12-minute address, Kinoti said in the past terrorism activities happened for lack of intelligence sharing between Kenyan security officers and other international partners.
He said, even recently in Sri Lanka, security officers failed to act to the intelligence brief they were given 10 days before the Easter weekend church attack.
“Looking at the history of terrorism in Kenya, I’m reiterating the importance of this centre in Mombasa. We are talking about consumption of intelligence information and how fast a country moves in to disrupt the attacks. This office here will help us,” he said.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, said UK has been helping in Kenya in best practices in combating terrorism and other forms of crime.
“Terrorism is relatively new phenomenon in Kenya. The British have been dealing with this issue for many years. Therefore, Kenya will keep on learning from UK,” he said.