Police trailed Iranians for eight days before arrest
Posted Saturday, July 7 2012 at 23:30
- Duo was picked out for surveillance because immediately after setting foot on Kenyan soil they “made contact” with a Kenyan who had been on security watch
The two Iranian suspects being held over terrorism links were trailed for eight days by Kenyan detectives before being arrested, the Sunday Nation can reveal.
Moments after the two, Mr Ahmad Abolafathi Mohammed and Mr Sayed Mansour Mousa, landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, a team of undercover agents was assigned to trail them round the clock.
They were picked out for surveillance because immediately after setting foot on Kenyan soil they “made contact” (meaning they made a telephone call) with a Kenyan who had been placed on security watch because of suspected links with Somalia terrorist group Al-Shabaab.
The pair then walked across to the domestic flights terminal where they boarded a flight to Mombasa.
For the eight days that undercover officers trailed them, the Iranians made several flights between Nairobi and Mombasa. In both cities, they stayed in five-star hotels in the central business districts.
They were arrested at a five-star Nairobi hotel after one of their local contacts was interrogated by police and revealed that he was awaiting a call about a “package” that was hidden somewhere.
He told the police that once the call came through, his work would be to collect the package and deliver it.
It’s then that police pounced on the Iranians at the hotel, drove them away and detained them for interrogation.
A senior officer privy to the interrogation told the Sunday Nation that the Iranians confessed that the “package” was the dangerous explosive RDX and they knew where it was hidden.
But all through the questioning, the two denied being terrorists “but they have not told us what they intended to do,” the officer said.
Immediately after the alleged confession, a flight was quickly arranged and detectives flew with the Iranians to Mombasa by night.
Sources said the decision was made because they feared that any person who knew about the package’s location would take it away if he or she discovered the Iranians had been arrested.
On arrival in Mombasa, the Iranians led police to the location – the grounds near Mombasa Golf Club.
Squads of armed officers were mobilised and stationed in the area throughout the night to ensure that nobody gained entry.
Specialist officers moved in the next morning and recovered 15 kilogrammes of the white crystalline substance. Tests done at the government chemist ascertained the chemical to be RDX.
RDX is a more powerful chemical than TNT, which is widely used in making conventional bombs. It was TNT that the attackers of the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam used, pointing to the potency of the material seized from the two Iranians.
The amount of RDX recovered in Mombasa is enough to make a bomb that can bring down a multi-storey building, a detective involved in the investigations told the Sunday Nation.