Police have released the names of 15 men they believe hold key information that could help unravel the Al-Shabaab militia.
The suspects are said to have left Kismayu recently for Kenya and some are believed to be already in the country. The group comprises nine Kenyans, two Asians and four Somalis aged between 24 and 32.
Most of the Kenyans are known to have resided in Majengo area of Nairobi and Mombasa before leaving for Somalia about a year ago.
“If any of these people is in Kenya, they are advised to report to the nearest police station,” said Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe.
He also urged any person who sees any of them or has information on their whereabouts to inform police.
One of the suspects is Habib Saleh Ghani aka Abu Usama Al-Pakistani, a Briton.
The others, some only known by only one name, are Abdi Samadi Wadud aka Asu, Ali Hashim Muhogo, Amar, Bashir, Budalangi, Erico, Farhan Ayub, Jamadar, Juma Ayub, Amar, Mwarabu, Ramadhan Kioko, Sufiyan and Habib Saleh.
Police have also released the name of Baba Nawal, suspected to have been involved in the kidnapping of a disabled French woman who was abducted in Lamu in October.
Another suspect wanted by police is Natalie Fayed, holder of passport number A 0152478 who is said to have entered Kenya through Lunga Lunga border crossing on February 26, and also came in on August 25, through Namanga.
She is in the company of her three children one girl and two boys aged 10, 8 and 5.
Police have also confirmed that GSU officers killed three suspected Al-Shabaab militants and recovered five AK-47 rifles, two speedboats, 14 magazines and 372 bullets on Saturday morning.
The officers, who were on patrol, saw an unidentified boat approaching the Kenyan territorial waters at around 6.30am on Friday morning at Kiwayu area of Lamu. They gave chase but the suspects sped and abandoned the boat and disappeared into the Mukokoni forest.
On Saturday at around 9am the GSU officers from the ‘L’ company now based at Kiunga found the armed men and a fierce exchange ensued.
In the process, three of the suspects were killed and three others escaped with gunshot injuries.
“There were no casualties among the security agents,” said Mr Kiraithe.
Meanwhile, police have banned all fireworks as they intensify security patrols and at the same time urged the public to liaise with their local police on security arrangements before they organise or attend any gatherings.
Mr Kiraithe, however, stressed that he was satisfied with the security situation in the country and the police would not ban gatherings.
Mr Kiraithe has at the same time warned refugees who engage in criminal activities that stern action will be taken against them. There have been cases of criminal activities within the refugee camps.
On Thursday night, a refugee leader, Ahmed Mohamud, was shot dead as he was entering his compound at the Hagadera refugee camp.
Ahmed was the chairperson of the Community Peace and Security Team — a refugee-run community group — said to be instrumental in maintaining security in the camp.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres has also condemned the killing of the leader.
In the North Eastern province, the security forces are on high alert after intelligence reports showed that improvised explosive devices (IED) experts from Bulla Hawa town in Southern Somalia had crossed to Mandera on Friday.
The experts are allegedly training people in buildings near Kenya Customs control.
The intelligence report further states that the militants’ main targets are the State security forces especially in Mandera.
Addressing the media during the briefing on the war against Al-Shabaab, Military Spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said the Al-Shabaab suffered the highest number of casualties in the last one week.
He said that the KDF gained more ground on the Northern sector and close to 6,000 residents had moved back to their original homes.
On Thursday, five militants and one KDF soldier were killed, and five other KDF soldiers injured following a ground engagement.
Col Oguna said that the previous day, a KDF vehicle drove over an IED and, as a result, four soldiers were injured and the vehicle slightly damaged.
The largest number of casualties occurred on Christmas day when the forces killed around 100 members including some foreign fighters.
Earlier on December 24, the KDF raided a customs office and killed six and wounded eight Al-Shabaab members and also destroyed a technical (vehicle used by the militants).
Col Oguna added that the forces had blocked the charcoal trade as part of their strategy to ensure that Al-Shabaab are starved of cash and also to check on environmental degradation.
Regarding the US stoppage of financial transactions from the diaspora, Col Oguna welcomed the move though he said it did not significantly contribute to the success of their operation.
“Al-Shabaab has never been funded from the diaspora and that is why we are concentrating on blocking their sources of income within,” said Oguna.