By Cyrus Ombati
The hunt is on for eight dangerous men who were prepared to die in major terror attacks on churches and other targets.
This follows the discovery of a deadly cache of explosive-laden vests and weapons in a one-bedroom apartment in the city’s Eastleigh estate.
Two men were arrested in the Thursday night raid with four suicide vests and two improvised devices, each with at least 30kg of explosives. They were identified as Kenyan Abdulmajid Yassin Mohammed, 26, and Somali national Suleiman Abdi Aden, 24. Police also recovered 12 hand grenades, four AK 47 rifles, and 480 bullets. Police say the cache was ferried to the house on Monday or Tuesday this week in readiness for use.
They say eight suspects, either Somali nationals or Kenyans of Somali decent, are believed to be on the run. Photographs of some of the men, all aged below 30, were released to the media late last night.
Anti-terror police unit detectives spent much of the day on Friday interrogating the two suspects in custody. The men, who had been living in the Eastleigh house for the last two months, have allegedly confessed to plotting terror attacks. Police believe the attacks were imminent and would have been executed “as early as on Saturday”.
Police said the men confessed to working with eight others to plan attacks on social places and churches in the city. Those who escaped the police dragnet are believed to include the mastermind and/or bomb maker, the suicide bombers and associates meant to monitor the mission.
On Friday, a British intelligence agent and two from Israel were seen at the Anti-Terror Police Unit offices helping with the hunt.
The United Kingdom has had counter-terror officers visit Kenya to track down terror financier Samantha Lewthwaite, a British national who recently hinted that she was ready to end her life as a suicide bomber.
Lewthwaite and others are feared to be planning attacks to avenge the recent killings of several Al Shabaab leaders and sympathisers. If the attacks had gone ahead, it could have been the first time suicide vests had been used in a terror attack in Nairobi.
The explosive devices strapped to the vests were made using ball bearings and other shrapnel packed into explosive materials.