News / Africa

    Kenya Terror Threats Lead to Increased Security

    Dadaab, Kenya mapDadaab, Kenya map
    x
    Dadaab, Kenya map
    Dadaab, Kenya map
    William Eagle
    Analysts say there’s increased security among government and private businesses in Nairobi as news of potential terrorist threats fill the media.

    This week, the trial of two Iranian men Ahmed Mohammed and Sayed Mansour began in Nairobi.  They were arrested in June carrying several kilograms of RDX, a chemical used in making bombs.  Authorities say the material was likely meant for attacks in Kenya. 

    Also this week, unnamed sources told the daily Star newspaper that an Iranian vessel suspected of carrying RDX is expected to arrive soon in Mombasa.  The paper’s sources said the MV Padriz had docked at the port over two dozen times in the past year.  The government has not commented on the allegations.

    In the meantime, the Israeli embassy has warned that Tehran has mounted global campaign to attack Israeli and Israeli interests around the world.  
    According to the Star, the Iranian ambassador to Kenya called the accusations by Israel, the media and security officials “false and aimed at further tarnishing its international image." 
     
    The paper says Kenyan police have asked the public to remain vigilant and to report any unusual suspicious activity.  Authorities also say the Somali militant group al-Shabab has an active cell in the country.
     
    Albert Kasembeli of the Nairobi-based Security East Africa magazine said, “What we know about the two Iranians is that they were arrested in Mombasa after American intelligence reports tipped off local Kenya security forces to arrest the two. Through interrogation they confessed carrying explosive materials, and they led the police right from Nairobi to Mombasa where the police found 15 kilograms of an explosive making material called RDX.”
     
    “They told security officials during interrogation that they had planned a series of explosions in the country,” he continued.  “Later on from government sources, we were told they had specifically targeted American, Israeli, and British targets in the country and region.”

    The analyst said bail for the two men has been suspended on the grounds of national security. 

    And, Kasembeli said security in the Kenyan capital has been tightened.
     
    “Looking at the latest trends of terrorist attacks in Kenya and Uganda, the [terrorists] are going for soft spots, targeting areas with heavy human traffic, social places like hotels, bars, venues where people congregate like in public rallies…”
     
    He said relations between Tehran and Nairobi are beginning to show some stress.
     
     “The Iranian government has not responded to the trial [of the two men on explosives charges], but about two weeks ago Kenya had signed an oil deal with Iran,” he said.  “Because of the international condemnation and because of oil embargo on Iran [Europe and the US], the Kenya government fearing an international condemnation cancelled the deal.”

    The Nairobi-based analyst said Kenya has become a target of radical groups because of its close relations with the West and its involvement in the war in neighboring Somalia.  Nairobi has sent troops to help defend the government there in its battle against the Islamic militant group, al-Shabab.

    “Kenya has been targeted,” he said, “because of its involvement in the Somalia incursion.  [Also], Kenya’s foreign policy has contributed to its being targeted by the terror network because of its association with the America and the West.  This is not the first time Kenya has had a problem, even before the country went to Somalia it has been a target of terror attacks.”  

    In 1998, terrorists attacked US embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam, killing 224 people and wounding nearly 5,000 others.  Earlier this month, 17 people died in grenade attacks on churches in Garissa near the border with Somalia.  The attack came within days of an assault on a driver and aid workers at the Dadaad refugee camp housing thousands of Somali refugees.

    “You will also remember,” recalled Kasembeli, “the terrorist attack during the last World Cup in July 2010 caused the death of 89 football fans in Kampala.  The attack was directly linked to the involvement of Ugandan soldiers in Somalia.

    He said the coast of Kenya has often served as an entry-point for contraband materials.  Kasembeli said the Kenyan navy and air force, along with NATO, are closely monitoring the area. Meanwhile, authorities are conducting random checks of containers at the port of Mombasa, according to the Star newspaper.

    listen to interview with Albert Kasembeli of Security East Africa magazine
    listen to interview with Albert Kasembeli of Security East Africa magazinei
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora