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Kenya on high alert over Al-Shabaab attacks

09 September 2014, 22:57

Mombasa - Kenyan authorities said Tuesday the country is on high alert over possible retaliatory attacks by Al-Shabaab after its leader was killed last week in U.S. military airstrikes in southern Somalia.

Kenya Defence Force (KDF) spokesman Bogita Ongeri told Xinhua that the military personnel have increased surveillance at the Kenya-Somalia border in Lamu and northern Kenya to avert cross border incursion by the insurgents.

"We have put elaborate security measures and strengthened our operations within Hindi and vast Boni Forest near the Somalia border in. More personnel have been deployed to prevent militants sneaking into the country," Bogita told Xinhua.

The heightened security follows the killing of Ahmed Godane. The military airstrike killed a total of 11 Al-Shabaab militants, including five senior commanders. The group has since appointed Ahmed Omar Abu Ubaidah as the new leader.

Also read: Shabaab pledge allegiance to new leader

Godane, the co-founder had been at the helm since the group started a campaign of terror in East Africa, killing Somali officials, aid workers and others in a spate of suicide bombings.

Kenya's intelligence sources indicate that the security has been activated along the borders and internally to avert any possible attacks by the militant in the country.

Government officials say security agencies have been directed to take extra security measures, including increased patrols and intensified access control at public places.

The increased vigilance comes as Kenya's anti-terrorism police are also interrogating two Germans after they were arrested in Nairobi on terrorism suspicions.

Acting Head of Anti-Terrorism Police John Mulaulu confirmed the arrests, saying the two were arrested on Aug. 28 following intelligence reports that they had arrived in the country from Somalia.

"We arrested the two on Aug. 28 and we are still interrogating them on their mission in the country. Where they had come from and their final destination," Mulaulu told Xinhua by telephone in Nairobi.

He said the security agencies have been on high alert which he said led to the arrest of the pair on Nairobi streets.

"We suspect there could be more foreign fighters who are now returning to their countries, because the group they were fighting for is disintegrating," Mulaulu said.

The move came as three German nationals have been arrested at Frankfurt airport upon returning from east Africa.

The three, returning from Kenya, were arrested on Monday by the Federal Criminal Agency and allegedly traveled to Somalia in 2012 and 2013, where they joined Al-Shabaab and received weapon as well as combat training.

"There is no evidence that the defendants have planned or prepared concrete attacks," Germany's Attorney General Office reportedly said in a statement, referring to attacks that had already taken place.

Prosecutors accused them, however, of planning an as yet unimplemented "seditious act of violence."

The suspects were identified as 26-year old Steven N., 28-year old Abdullah W. and 23-year-old Abdulsalam W.

Godane who was blamed for playing a major role in September Westgate attack was killed on Monday in a drone attack. Somalia's government has warned of a wave of retaliatory attacks.

Military sources said the Lamu attacks was conducted by the Al- Shabaab terror group working with local militia group that include Mombasa Republic Council (MRC) to orchestrate the bloodletting attacks.

Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo said on Sunday the MRC is working closely with the Somali Al-Shabaab.

However, MRC secretary-general Randu Nzai Ruwa has denied the police claims that the group is collaborating with Al-Shabaab militant.

 - Xinhua



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