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Kenya enhances security in coastal town over terror attack

15 April 2016, 16:32

Mombasa - (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities have intensified security in the coastal town of Malindi following reports of a planned terror attack by Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab.

Regional police commander Francis Wanjohi confirmed Thursday of planned terror attacks in the coastal town, saying Al-Shabaab fighters are planning to use suicide bombers to execute the attack.

"We have beefed up security in Malindi following reports of a planned terror attack. We have increased police patrols and heightened intelligence," Wanjohi told Xinhua in Mombasa.

Sources within anti terrorism detectives told Xinhua that that least six Al-Shabaab fighters have been dispatched from Somalia to carryout the attacks on unspecified locations in Kenya.

According to reports, the Al-Shabaab militia is planning to use suicide bombers to execute the attacks targeting key government facilities and popular public places which the police said should be put under vigilance to foil any possible attack.

The security alert came amid rising fears among communities living along the porous border with Somalia that the Islamist group could be turning their frustration on the innocent civilians in a series of revenge attacks due to increased airstrikes in southern Somalia.

Wanjohi called on Malindi residents to be vigilant following the report, saying the Al-Shabaab militants are targeting the area with the objective of causing extensive damage in unspecified location but mainly crowded places.

Wanjohi said the militants are taking advantage of the heavy rains being witnessed in the region cross over .

"We are aware that during the rainy season it makes easy for the militants to move and cross into the country. But we are monitoring the situation to avert any possible attacks," Wanjohi stressed.

He said the security apparatus have concentrated operation along Kenya Somalia border within the vast Boni forest that is mainly used by the insurgents to cross into the country.

Kenya'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.

The tourism sector has suffered a decline in the number of tourists arriving since September 2011 when Al-Shabaab carried out the kidnappings of tourists in the Lamu archipelago and the kidnapping of the Spanish volunteers.

However, U.S. and Britain, key sources of tourists for Kenya, are among nations that have partially lifted travel warnings to the Coast due to relative calm.

The latest move came as regional security forces serving under the AMISOM have stepped up their military raids in the Horn of Africa nation, killing several Al-Shabaab fighters.

- Xinhua


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