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Mombasa police attack 'retaliation' for mosque raids

10 February 2014, 17:51

Nairobi - The attack on two police officers in Ukunda could be retaliation for police action on mosques in the coastal city of Mombasa.

A Kenya police officer was on Monday morning shot and wounded by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in Ukunda in Kwale district.

Mombasa Regional Police Coordinator Aggrey Adoli said the police officer was shot at close range by a gunmen riding in a motorbike and close range before robbing him his rifle.

Another female officer who was in the company of the officer was also injured after he was wrestled by the gunmen. Adoli confirmed that the attackers also stole a loaded AK-47 rifle from the officer.

Police suspect the attackers are radical Muslim youths from Masjid Musa Mosque in Mombasa city, a hotbed for Al-Shabaab funding and training.

Sources within the police told Xinhua that the Monday attack was retaliation over the raid at Masjid Musa where several Muslim youths were arrested by the security officers who conducted a raid on Feb. 7.

At least one person was killed, scores injured and motorists vandalized in four days of running battle between police and radical youths.

Police arrested 104 suspects including three women, while undergoing training to execute terror related attack within the republic of Kenya.

Detectives are profiling the suspects using forensic analysis of finger print examination and DNA analysis. He said the DNA samples will determine if they are linked with past incidents including the Westgate attack in Nairobi last September.

The results are expected to be released and shared among local and foreign detectives including FBI and CIA in the counter terrorism efforts.

Three laptops seized at Masjid Musa mosque were handed to the Cyber Crime Unit in Nairobi. The results will be scrutinized and compared to an international crime data bank that includes past grenade attacks linked to Al-Shabaab.

Anti-terror police sources said that they believe the three computers may contain Jihad training materials, sermons and details of Al-Shabaab networks in Kenya including possible financiers.

Their contents will now scrutinize for links to extremist elements. The coastal town of Ukunda has in the past months witnessed grenade attacks targeting police officers and foreigners.

A total of 10 people were injured after hand grenade was hurled at popular joint in the bar in Ukunda. Two British nationals and five police officers also survived a grenade attacks when grenades were thrown to their vehicle on Dec. 12.

Kenya's government says armed attacks and kidnappings threaten the country's tourism industry -- a key driver of the economy-- that had bounced back after near collapse following post-election violence seven years ago in which more than 1,200 people died.

Kenya's security forces have beefed up security across the country following credible leads that Al-Qaeda and Al Shabaab are planning fresh attacks in the country.

Al-Shabaab militants have vowed to attack Nairobi 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.

Security in key towns in Kenya has been put on a high alert following Kenya's military operations in Somalia which sparked threats from the Al-Shabaab group that it will retaliate deep in Kenya.

- Xinhua


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