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Kenya alert over Shabaab threats

Monday February 28 2011

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere 

By DOMINIC WABALA

Commissioner of Police Mr Mathew Iteere has urged shopping mall, hotel owners and Public Service Vehicles (PSV) operators to be more vigilant following the threat by Somalia based radical Islamic group al Shabaab militia to attack Kenya.

Mr Iteere, however, assured Kenyans that police working in conjunction with other security agencies in the country had put measures to provide adequate security.

“I would wish to take this opportunity to assure the public that in conjunction with other security services, we have taken measures to provide adequate security. However, we wish to advice those responsible for security in shopping malls, hotels, Public Service Vehicle stations and other socials places where the public is admitted to be more vigilant at this time,” the police boss said.

He urged members of public with information on criminals and other suspicious activities to report to the police or other authorities.

Mr Iteere said that police were taking the warning seriously because al Shabaab had claimed responsibility for the June 11, 2010 twin bombings in Kampala which claimed 76 lives.

Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamuo Raghe alias Shiekh Ali Dhere on Sunday warned of revenge attacks against Kenya for aiding the Transnational Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia.

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He accused the Kenyan government of being behind ‘the trouble’ in Somalia.

Retaliate

“Previous warnings to Kenya were nothing compared to this one. We are going to retaliate against it (Kenya) harshly,” the al Shabaab spokesman was quoted saying in Mogadishu on Sunday.

The al Shabaab spokesman accused Kenya of assisting pro-government forces in their attacks on the group's positions.

The police boss’ appeal comes as the Kenyan military in Mandera upgraded its alertness on the border to ‘amber’ as fighting between al Shabaab and TFG forces assisted by African Union troops continued.

The Department of Defence spokesman Mr Bogita Ongeri warned that Kenya would not allow the militia nor their associates on the country’s soils because they are a threat to humanity.

“Al Shabaab is provocative, unnecessarily aggressive and disrespectful to our territorial integrity. We are taking care in case of spill over into our country. Let them fight in their country not cross over to ours.

"We have, however, deployed soldiers to take care of our borders and are restraining ourselves because we respect the territorial integrity of a neighbouring country. They are used to threatening to attack, secretly capturing people and bombing hospitals only to later blame Kenya for problems of their own making. We cannot allow them nor their associate on our soil as they are a treat to humanity,” Mr Bogita said.