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The East African : April 28th 2014
10 THREATS OF MULTIPLE ATTACKS The EastAfrican NEWS APRIL 26 - MAY 2, 2014 ernment has been bankrolling both Amisom and the Somalia government, with the European Union playing a supporting role. China, meanwhile, has yet to match its growing economic power in Africa with military muscle. Almost immediately after Kenya entered Somalia in late 2011, the government sought to deepen ties with Israel to help ward off the threat of retaliatory attacks by Al Shabaab. The US, whose FBI has taken a high-profile in Kenya’s counterterrorism campaign, is particularly keen on capacity-building for Kenya’s security services. On March 25, during a visit to the coastal city of Mombasa, shortly after the discovery of the VBIED — in which the FBI played an instrumental role — Mr Godec disclosed that Nairobi had made a formal request for specialised counter-terrorism assistance from Washington. “With sophistication in ter- Police officers comb through the wreckage of the vehicle that exploded on Wednesday night at Pangani Police Station in Nairobi. Picture: File Western diplomats pledge support to fight new face of terrorism in Kenya Secu≥ity expe≥ts wa≥n that Al Shabaab will escalate attacks in key u≥ban cent≥es By RASHID ABDI Special Correspondent A s terrorist attacks in Kenya become increasingly sophis- ticated, diplomats say there are clear signals of a significant shift in the ability of operatives of Al Shabaab — the terrorist group operating from Somalia — to transfer technology to affiliates in Kenya, complicating the country’s precarious threat situation. “It is clear Al Shabaab and its affiliates are intent on escalating terrorist attacks across Kenya’s major urban areas, especially Nairobi and Mombasa,” a security specialist familiar with discussions within diplomatic circles told The EastAfrican. What is more worrying is the growing level of sophistication of the attacks, which has risen from use of grenades and guns to powerful bombs. In the latest incident last Wednesday, a Kenya faces a continued threat of terrorism and will have to remain focused on this fight for some time to come,” Diplomats in a joint statement car blew up at a police station in Nairobi, claiming the first police fatalities since a major security operation began. Two officers were killed together with two suspected bombers. Soon after, anti-bomb experts detonated explosives in yet another vehicle that had been abandoned outside the same police station. A recent security assessment report by global diplomatic agencies seen by the The EastAfrican also makes reference to the sophistication and frequency of terrorist attacks. “Recent information contin- ues to confirm Al Shabaab retains the intent and capability to conduct large-scale attacks in Kenya,” stated the brief. It warns that the attackers could disguise themselves by wearing military uniform, or driving NGO or diplomatic-plated cars. The most likely targets, intel- ligence reports warn, are hotels at the Coast, shopping outlets, restaurants and bars, the Likoni Ferry, Moi International Airport in Mombasa, public transport hubs, government and security buildings and other public places. Experts believe the most urgent requirements are high-tech surveillance and tracking devices and systems as well as expertise in dismantling improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A group of 19 diplomats based in Nairobi — from Western nations and Japan — on April 11 issued a statement that mainly focused on corruption, but which also indicated their mounting concern about the terror threat and the challenges facing Kenya’s counter-terrorism efforts. The diplomats said donors were willing to offer greater assistance to tackle the challenges but also noted the link between corruption and insecurity. “Kenya faces a continued threat of terrorism and will have to remain focused on this fight for some time to come. The best way to combat terrorism is to have well-trained and honest security forces committed to serving justice through established legal means. Security officers must be beyond reproach, impervious to bribes, always seeking to help people,” said the statement. The statement was preceded by a meeting at State House in early April between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the UK High Commissioner to Kenya Dr Christian Turner, US ambassador Robert Godec, Australian High Commissioner Geoff Tooth and Canadian High Commissioner David Angell, in which the four envoys expressed their governments’ willingness to help Kenya build its capacity in dealing with terrorism. The envoys said the recent discovery of a massive VBIED (vehicle borne IED) in Mombasa showed Al Shabaab had become sophisticated in its operations and tactics. They said that judging by what was discovered in Mombasa, there is a need to deepen security co-operation between their countries and Kenya. They said they would want to see the Kenyan government take measures to enhance the capacity of its security organs in dealing with the terror group. Kenya, like its neighbours in the East African region, which is increasingly becoming vulnerable to terror attacks, is expected to emerge as a key beneficiary of renewed global anti-terrorism programmes. The US gov- rorism, we will continue to train the security forces with latest evolving technologies to proactively deal with the menace,” he said. Lack of forensic kits Kenyan officials in the judi- ciary have also been appealing for specialised forensic kits and laboratory equipment, citing the lack of such facilities as the greatest impediment to effective prosecution of terrorism suspects. Speaking during the second Annual Convention of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution at the Kenya School of Government recently, Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko said the old ways of evidence-gathering such as eyewitness accounts could not be relied upon to prosecute crimes such as terrorism and money laundering. “The government should es- tablish a fully-equipped national forensic laboratory to deal with serious emerging crimes such as terrorism,” he said. The recent attacks, security experts said, have put international agencies, foreign businesses and embassies on high alert. Kenya has over the past one month been conducting possibly one of its most intense security crackdowns since Independence in an effort to rid the country of illegal immigrants and terrorists. The country’s porous borders with Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia make it easy for the terror groups to operate freely between countries.
April 21st 2014
May 5th 2014