Big terror attack possible, official fears
01 April 2014, 20:13
Nairobi - Authorities here made more than 650 arrests following the latest
bomb attack Monday , according to officials
who are worried that a wave of small-scale bomb and gunfire attacks
indicates a large-scale terrorist assault may be imminent.
country is still on edge following the attack by Somali militants in
September on the Westgate Mall that killed at least 67 people.
Since then al-Shabab sympathizers have been blamed for an explosion at
Nairobi's main airport, a grenade attack on tourists on the coast, a
blast on a public bus in Nairobi, and three blasts Monday night in the
capital that killed six people.
Authorities said Tuesday they had
arrested 657 people following the latest attack. Kenya frequently makes
mass arrests after attacks only to release nearly all of those arrested.
month, police on the coast discovered a car bomb packed with explosives
that a police official has said was meant to target a shopping mall.
Later in the month gunmen killed six people in a church outside Mombasa.
said over the weekend that officials have received reports that
terrorists are planning a range of attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa.
attack on the Westgate Mall in 2013 and a series of incidents and
attacks in 2014 underscores that there is a serious and ongoing risk of
large scale acts of terrorism in these locations," Australia's
government said. "Kenyan authorities are at a high state of alert."
senior Kenyan security official said that security agencies believe a
large scale attack is imminent. He said because police foiled the
planned car bomb in Mombasa, terrorists are more determined to carry out
Bryan N. Kahumbura, a Horn of Africa analyst with the
International Crisis group, said a mix of issues is fueling the
escalation of attacks.
The disappearances and executions of Muslim
youth suspected of having links to terror networks have caused a lot of
anger within the Kenyan Muslim community, Kahumbura said. Many Muslims
feel they are being profiled by police, he said.
threatened more attacks in the country unless the government withdraws troops
fighting the al-Qaida-linked group in Somalia.