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Kenyan police question Al-Shabaab suspect

23 January 2014, 21:31

 Nyahururu - Police on Thursday said they are interrogating a man believed to have connections with the Al-Qaeda allied group, Al-Shabaab, suspected to be planning a series of attacks in the East African nation.

Nyandarua divisional police commander Benjamin Onsongo said the middle aged man has confessed to have training in terrorism in Somalia and other countries.

"The members of the public informed us of the man and we immediately moved fast and arrested him on Wednesdays. It is true that he has confirmed of traversing various parts of the world in terrorism missions," Onsongo said by telephone on Thursday.

The arrest comes as security forces are on high alert following information that the Al-Shabaab terror group are planning to launch a series of attacks in key installations in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia has circulated a security alert to all senior government and police officers that the Al-Qaeda allied group could be targeting key government facilities and popular public places which he said should be put under vigilance to foil any possible attack.

There has been a string of attacks by Somali militants and their sympathizers since Kenya sent troops into Somalia on October 2011 to battle the militia who were blamed for a series of murders and kidnappings on the Kenya soil with Daadab district which hosts the refugee camps being one of the worst hit by the attacks.

Osongo said the suspect who hails from Laikipia West region in northwest Kenya was arrested in the town following a tip off from members of the public. He said the suspect is assisting the police with crucial information on the training he acquired.

The man who confessed to the public connected to Al-Qaeda terror group said that he joined the insurgent group in 2006 and has been to 33 countries.

He said he was abducted at Jamia Mosque and was taken to Afghanistan where he was enrolled to the group.

"I had gone there to pray but I was abducted and taken to a foreign country where I was trained on terrorism matters. I have been to many countries with the group," he said.

He also confessed of having warned the government on the attack on the Westgate mall.

"I informed the security officers of a possible attack but they took it lightly. I informed senior police officers but they dismissed me," he noted. Onsongo said police would forward him to anti terror police unit for further questioning.

The security alert comes amid rising fears among communities living along the porous border with Somalia that the Islamist group was turning their frustration on the innocent civilians in a series of revenge attacks.

Al-Shabaab militants have vowed to attack Nairobi after the east African nation which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the signing of the federal charter for Somalia in 2005, invaded Somalia to flush out the insurgents it blamed for kidnappings of tourists.

The police said they are concerned that most public facilities have lowered their security alertness unlike two months ago when Kenya started pursuing Al-Shabaab.

- Xinhua


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