Detectives from the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) and their counterparts from the elite Recce Squad Tuesday killed three suspected terrorists in Likoni, Mombasa, confiscated a cache of firearms, and foiled attacks.
A G3 rifle, a hand grenade, three kilogrammes of ammonium nitrate — used in making explosives — and hundreds of ammunition of different types were seized.
The bullets included 217 rounds of 7.62mm, 490 rounds of 9mm, 444 rounds of 22mm, 45 special rounds, 123 rounds of 12mm and two spent cartridges.
Others were 68 air rifle bullets, nine machetes, nine balaclavas, assorted military holsters and porches, and three military jungle uniforms. The killings happened only three days after police issued an internal alert that suspected al-Shabaab terrorists were planning an attack in Likoni and Kwale.
The terror group had reportedly sent seven returnees in Kwale and Kilifi counties to launch attacks on key installations, including the Kenya Ports Authority, Moi International Airport and the standard gauge railway terminus in Mombasa.
Heavily armed commandos stormed a 12-room rental house in Dudus area, Likoni, at about 5am, gunned down the suspects and confiscated a cache of weapons.
Seven other suspects were arrested.
“These people have been threatening our peace here at the Coast. We received intelligence information about the cache and our officers managed to deal with them,” said Mr Paul Leting, the acting regional Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
The officers questioned locals during the operation. Mr Collins Mkasa, a businessman, was held for an hour for approaching the scene, which was cordoned off for about four hours.
“The officers beat me up and questioned me. I heard gunfire exchange which lasted for almost 10 minutes,” said Mr Mkasa. After the operation the officers headed to Bomani area where they raided another house of a suspected terrorist, ransacked it but did not get anything substantial. Neighbours said the officers used an explosive to break down the door of the suspect’s house.
“This is an ongoing operation; we have other targeted areas. These people have been targeting different places; the intelligence we have will help us stop them,” said Mr Leting.
He said that they had finger-printed the suspects to establish their identities.
On Sunday, police arrested Fawaz Ahmed, who is linked to Dusit D2 suicide bomber Mahir Riziki. Officers from the ATPU presented Mr Ahmed at a Mombasa court where they were allowed to hold him for 20 days to allow investigations into the Nairobi hotel attack in January. Mr Ahmed, who grew up in Old Town and was radicalised at Masjid Musa, is being held at Mombasa Port Police Station.
Tuesday’s killing came a few weeks after the arrest of another wanted terror suspect, Salim Aboud Khalid, who has been key in the war against terror.
His arrest came two weeks after another wanted suspect, Mohamed Rashid Mwatsumiro alias Modi, was killed in Ng'ombeni in Kwale County. He was killed during a shoot-out.
Police said they found a pistol and improvised explosive devices during the incident.