Kenya says airport not under imminent threat
29 February 2016, 20:51
Nairobi - Kenya's airport authorities
confirmed on Monday that the country's airports are not under imminent terror
threats amid tight security at all entry points across the East African nation.
"We wish to inform the general public that the aviation
industry is very sensitive to all security matters. We take proactive action on
any intelligence information however frivolous it may seem,"Kenya Airports
Authority (KAA) Acting Managing Director Yatich Kangugo told journalists.
His remarks came after internal memo from KAA Security
Manager Eric Kiraithe warned that the militants posing as passengers plan to
target domestic flights where they intend to blow themselves up during the
The memo prompted the police chief to beef up security in
major airports following intelligence reports on Sunday evening of impending
attacks by Al-Shabaab.
Kiraithe said 11 militants have undergone training in
neighbouring Somalia and could carry out attacks as early as in March.
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"Domestic flights are the main targets. Operatives
posing as passengers intend to blow themselves up during landing," he
said, noting that five operatives will target Jomo Kenyatta International
Airport or Wilson Airport in Nairobi while the rest will focus on airports at
the Coast region, among them Moi International Airport.
But Kangugo said his office acted on first informant,
regretting that the information was released prematurely without awaiting the
due verification by the threat assessment experts from the National Aviation
Security Committee and other security agencies.
"KAA is aware of the prevailing global terrorism threat
by among others Al-Shabaab who have issued public threats against Kenya,"
He said the KAA has raised its operational threat category
to high alert in conjunction with all other national security organs who have
increased vigilance to counter any potential threats.
"The public are urged to maintain vigilance and inform
law enforcement agencies of any information on suspicious activities as they go
about their daily lives," he added.
In the memo, Kiraithe said the militants received immense
training on airborne suicide missions in readiness for the assaults.
He warned that the attacks are likely to paralyse operations
at vital installations with far-reaching ramifications to national security.
The memo came after a plane belonging to Daallo Airlines was
hit by a suicide bomber in Mogadishu on Feb 2.
The latest move comes after Kenya's Inspector General of
police Joseph Boinnet warned of possible terror attacks in the country, saying
Al-Shabaab threat remains alive in the country.
"Available information indicate that Al-Shabaab is
still keen on attacking us targeting security installations, soft targets in
the Northern Kenya Counties, in the Coast and other major cities," said
Boinnet on Friday.