Security operations have been ramped up to disrupt any planned terror attack ahead of the third anniversary of the DusitD2 terror attack in Nairobi.
And given the attack in Mogadishu on Wednesday, where at least nine people were killed and others wounded, officials said they are not taking anything to chance.
The al-Shabaab extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was targeting “white officials” passing by.“We continue to urge for public support in all ways to tame any plans,” said police spokesman Bruno Shioso.
He said they had increased operations in all perceived hot spots.
On Wednesday night, security agents in Takaba, Mandera County, destroyed two al-Shabaab camps in a clash. The gang shot and damaged a police vehicle as they escaped, but no injury was reported.
There are fears of more attacks in the area, but more security personnel have been deployed.
On January 15, 2019, al-Shabaab militants attacked a commercial business complex in Nairobi containing the DusitD2 Hotel.
The attack began at 15:28 with a detonation of a suicide bomber, Mahir Riziki.
Four gunmen – Ali Salim Gichunge, Osman Ibrahim Gedi, Siyat Omar Abdi, and an unknown individual – then proceeded with the attack using AK-pattern rifles and grenades, targeting people within the DusitD2 Hotel and surrounding shops.
The terrorists’ images emerged in December 2020 when al-Shabaab released a seven-minute clip showing them preparing to attack the complex.
The attack resulted in 21 civilian deaths. The four gunmen also died in the attack.
Officials say the DusitD2 attack was carried out on a significant date, coinciding with the third anniversary of al-Shabaab’s overrunning of a Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) base in El Adde, Gedo region.
Security agencies are appealing to the public to remain on high alert and volunteer any information that would lead to the apprehension of the terror suspects.
The security agencies have also urged the citizens to remain committed to community policing and proactively report any suspicious activities within its midst to the authorities.
On Wednesday, January 13, security agencies said they were looking for eight terror suspects believed to be involved in devising terror plans against the country.
The agencies asked the public to be extra vigilant and volunteer any information that may lead to their arrest.
Those wanted include Kassim Musa Mwarusi aka Abu Miki, Mohamoud Abdi Aden aka Mohamed Yare, Peter Gichungu Njoroge aka Mustafa and Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir aka Ikrima.
Others are Erick Njoroge Wachira aka Mohamed Njoroge aka Moha, Abdurahman Hija aka Mnubi, Ahmed Ali Mohamed and Mohamed Ali Hussein.
According to a security report, the suspects, who are on the run or missing, are said to have been behind some of the recent sporadic attacks targeting security personnel and civilians in parts of Lamu County and its environs.
An official aware of the probe said all the suspects had had run-ins with the law in the past for robberies with violence, drugs and other criminal activities.
For instance, Njoroge escaped to Somalia to join al-Shabaab following reports about his notoriety for robbery with violence in parts of Mukurweini and Karatina sub-counties.
Hija also escaped to Somalia to join al-Shabaab in 2016 following his arrest warrant for being involved in criminal gangs that terrorised parts of Nyeri County.
Mwarusi has also been on the radar of the Kenyan law enforcement agencies for his involvement in criminal activities, including radicalisation and recruitment of unsuspecting youth into violent extremism in parts of Likoni, Diani and Ukunda.
Aden alias Mohamed Yare alias Ibrahim alias Mohamed Hassan Alias Mohamud Abdirahman was arrested in 2014 for abetting terrorism in the country.
He is believed to have rejoined al-Shabaab in Somalia in 2017 upon his release. He has been under the radar of the law enforcement agencies for being a key planner of the Dusit hotel attack in 2019.
Abdikadir, on the other hand, has been on the run following his involvement in the planning of the Dusit attack in 2019 and the Kampala bombing of 2010.
He is a terror operative with close links to Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, al-Shabaab and criminal gangs in parts of Nyali in Mombasa County.
Ahmed Ali Mohamed and Mohamed Ali Hussein escaped to Somalia to join al-Shabaab following the disruption of the planned VBIED attack at Merti in Isiolo in 2018 by the Kenyan security agencies.
The security report comes against the backdrop of heightened multiagency security operations against the threat of terrorism in the country and the neighbouring countries.
The government recently announced a raft of measures to deal with sporadic instances of insecurity in parts of Lamu County and its environs following a recent spate of insecurity incidents that led to fatalities, injuries and loss of property.