NAIROBI - Kenyan police say they have foiled a terrorist plot by a group believed to have links to so-called Islamic State. The group was allegedly planning "large-scale" attacks intended to kill innocent Kenyans. Suspects include medical experts who police say were planning to launch an attack using the biological agent anthrax.
Kenyan police have arrested medical intern Mohammed Abdi Ali, his wife, and her friend for their alleged involvement in an East African terror network.
Police say other accomplices, including two medical interns, are on the run.
“I believe that we have upped our game, in terms of collection of intelligence," said George Musamali, a security analyst for East and Central Africa. "Because this was a very, very big breakthrough on the part of the intelligence agencies in Kenya, and this includes the national intelligence services, the Kenya police and also, people from the military intelligence. It shows that right now, the intelligence units are working together and they are well-coordinated.”
Plans for bio-terror attack
Police say the foiled plot included plans for a biological terror attack using anthrax, an infectious bacteria that spreads rapidly once spores get into the body.
They say the attack, planned for April 29, was to be on a similar scale to the Westgate Mall assault of September 2013, in which 67 people were killed. That attack was carried out by the Somalia-based al-Qaida-linked group, al-Shabab.
Police released the names and photos of all five suspects on Twitter. They say the group was radicalizing and recruiting university students and other Kenyan youth, even encouraging them to join terror groups in Libya and Syria.
Concerned about IS movements
And the alleged involvement of so-called Islamic State with this group is a concern, according to Musamali.
“Clearly, it shows that IS [Islamic State] now wants to be a part of the play in East and Central Africa. And I think that this is something that should worry us, very much," he said.
Warning that the two suspects at-large are armed and dangerous, Kenyan police are offering two million Kenyan shillings, almost $20,000, for information leading to their arrest.