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Govt probes terror link into foiled barrack raid

03 November 2014, 08:27

Nairobi - Kenyan authorities said Sunday they are investigating terror link in an attempted invasion at Navy barracks in Mombasa, where a soldier and six attackers were killed and one arrested.

Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa told journalists that at least 20 heavily-armed militants with adorned head gears attempted to gain access to 17 Kenya Rifles Barracks in Nyali early Sunday morning but were repulsed.

"The investigation is underway to establish the identity of the group who had similar headgear. It appears they are well-trained militants who had guts to attack heavily guarded military camp," the government official said.

Marwa said the attackers were armed with crude weapons but soldiers at the sentry responded, killing five of the men. The sixth was pursued and shot dead in a nearby forest.

A source told Xinhua that one soldier died while he was being rushed to the hospital, and two others were injured but in stable condition. He said during the attempted raid, one M4 rifle was stolen with magazine loaded with 32 rounds of ammunitions. "It seems the attackers target was armoury," he added.

Security around the heavily guarded facility has been raised, with vehicles passing around the barracks now screened and motorists asked for identity cards before being allowed to pass.

Also read: MRC to blame for Nyali Barracks attack, says government

Marwa said they are investigating if the assailants had ties with any terror group or the secessionist group, the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), which were blamed for bloody attacks in the coastal region in the recent past.

Security source believe the attackers were Al-Shabaab returnees working in cahoots with local militant group, including the MRC.

Kenya is grappling with the MRC, a secessionist group pushing for the breakaway of the coastal region. The group cites neglect by Kenya's successive governments and land alienation as their reasons for seeking secession.

However, the group has vehemently denied claims by the government that it has established close links with Al-Shabaab, which has closer ties with Al-Qaida network. The police have accused MRC members of working with Al-Shabaab to orchestrate the attacks in the Lamu where more than 90 people were killed and several others displaced in June and July.

According to intelligence report, several Al-Shabaab members sneaked into the country to carry out the attacks in retaliation to Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) offensive in Somalia.

The bodies of the attackers who had similar shaving style and blue ribbon tied in the head were transferred to the mortuary for identification and postmortem.

Police said the attackers had planned two simultaneous attacks in Mombasa, and Malindi where they had attempted to raid AP Camp but were also repulsed by security agencies.

The raids come in the wake of security threats posed by re- emerging of radical Muslim youth who have taken over third mosque in Mombasa.

Mombasa, the country's second largest city and a major tourist spot, is one of various cities targeted by a series of grenade attacks and abduction of foreigners in recent months.

 - Xinhua

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