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Police detonate explosives after foiled terror attack

21 March 2014, 08:17

Mombasa - Police on Thursday detonated massive explosives seized on Monday after a foiled major terror attack in Mombasa as hunt for more suspects intensifies.

Police believe that at least five suspects linked directly to the attack are at large after they slipped through highly placed security intelligence operation. The government was tipped off the plot by foreign security agencies including America FBI.

A team of bomb disposal unit on Thursday successfully detonated 173 kilograms of Trinitrotoluene explosives at quarry. The bomb experts neutralized the six piped bombs that were mounted in vehicle with capacity to bring down a high-rise building.

Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa said the explosives were destroyed following successful application from the State to the court to damage the explosives that posed security threat.

"We have managed to effectively detonate the explosives. No injuries were reported during the delicate operation," Marwa told journalist at the site.

Specialized bomb experts sunk the six cylinders creating a crater as result of the magnitude of the bombs that were to be used to carry out a likely suicide bomb in the country.

The explosives were connected to the mobile phone and were powered by a car battery waiting to be detonated by a mobile phone near Changamwe area.

Security experts said the explosion was to be launched in a basement or crowded place by either radio waves generated by a mobile phone found in the car or electric current from the cars battery.

The experts who are close to investigations also said the bomblets would then ignite secondary explosions and send pellets in all directions for maximum damage to human life.

Mombasa County Police Commander Robert Kitur said they believe the Al-Shabaab terror group had targeted large crowd and possibly 14 storey building to cause maximum damage resulting to high number of fatalities.

"We are working with other foreign security agencies to apprehend more suspects behind the terror plot," Kitur said on Thursday in Mombasa. He said a total of four suspects are under police custody.

Senior Principal Magistrate Richard Odenyo granted the prosecution's request to have the explosives found in the vehicle detonated in the interest of national security.

On Wednesday two terror suspects linked were arraigned before court facing seven counts, including a plot to murder.

The two Abdiaziz Abdullah Abdi and Isaak Noor Ibrahim were also charged with being members of the Al-Shabaab terror group and for being illegally in possession of firearms.

The suspects were charged with being in possession of six grenades and a firearm without a certificate. The two faced a fourth charge of having 270 rounds of ammunition.

The duo denied all the before senior principal magistate. They were remanded until May 22 hearing of their case. The suspects are believed to have transported the explosives through the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya.

American FBI and Interpol have joined in the hunt for more suspects behind the plot. Al-Shabaab militants had planned attack in retaliation of killings of Al-Shabaab leaders by the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) air strike.

The authorities have particularly warned against the laxity in the screening of cars for explosives at all shopping malls and any business or social gatherings with at least 10 people at any given moment that these might be vulnerable to attacks.

Al-Shabaab militants have often said the attacks are a retaliation of the military incursion in their country where Kenyan forces are fighting under the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

Kenya sent forces into Somalia in 2011 to help the country fight the Al-Qaida-linked militant group after Al-Shabaab carried out a series of bombings and kidnapping in Kenya.

Al-Shabaab at one point controlled large parts of Somalia, but was pushed out of major cities by African Union forces and the Somali government.

Kenya has in the past witnessed grenade attacks that including the Westgate terror attack conducted by the Al-Shabaab militant group since the incursion of Somalia by Kenya troops.

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.

The East African nation's coastal towns are the backbone of the country's thriving tourism industry, which has been hit by the fear of terror attacks and the kidnapping of foreigners by Somali pirates from resorts near the border with Somalia.

- Xinhua

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