Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police continued investigations Tuesday into a thwarted terrorism plot in the coastal city of Mombasa, Police said. Police Inspector-General David Kimaiyo, said Police thwarted a major terrorism plot in Mombasa following the arrest of two suspects and the recovery of two large home-made bombs and a bomb detonator.
The Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) bomb squads cordoned off the area where a car used by the suspected terror elements was parked.
“Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivation,” Kimaiyo said.
Joseph Kitur, the Mombasa County Police Commander, said the two men (a Kenyan native and a man of Somali-origin) were arrested after Police intercepted their communication signals as they drove their SUV.
Police said the suspects were on mobile phone communication with accomplices in Somalia, adding 'we are yet to determine the specific target of their plot.'
“We have impounded the vehicle. It is in Police custody and properly secured. In it, are two powerful explosives capable of mass destruction,” private TV, K24, quoted the Police Commander as saying.
Police said the suspects planned to use the vehicle as an Improvised Explosive Device upon reaching a crowded part of the city.
The seizure of the assembled Vehicle-bourne IED is likely a setback for the Al Shabaab, which often assembles its vehicle-bombs shortly before a planned attack to avoid exposing its IED technology.
According to Police sources, the car was booby-trapped. Inside it, there were the bombs, grenades and two AK-47 assault rifles, which Police believe could have killed hundreds of people.
The car was taken to the Mombasa County Police headquarters while the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit sought for more time at the courts to investigate the two suspects before their court appearance.
The Police chief was elated with the work of the officers.
“I reiterate to Kenyans our determination to combat all forms of terrorism in accordance with our responsibilities,” Kimaiyo said.
“I wish to commend all National Police Service officers in Mombasa who managed to thwart the terror attack plan by the suspected terrorists.”