Hunt on for owner of vehicle carrying explosive devices

Five of the six cylinder explosive bombs, one AK 47 and six hand grenade on display after being disabled at Coast provincial police headquarters in this picture taken on 18 March 2014. Photo/Laban Walloga.

What you need to know:

  • Bomb experts were on Tuesday seeking to diffuse explosives as probe heightened
  • Key suspect in terror case in hiding as measures taken to secure town

Two massive bombs were left at a police station for six days in Mombasa.

The two bombs, which officers said could bring down a 14-story building, were cleverly hidden in a vehicle that officers had impounded.

On Tuesday they launched a hunt for the owner after they found the two bombs, categorised as improvised explosive devices.

As the investigations were going in, bomb experts were called in to diffuse the devices.

The devices were discovered on Monday when the officers invited experts to inspect the vehicle after the two men who were driving it were arrested in connection with terrorism.

The owner is reported to have left the vehicle — a Toyota Surf — with one of the two men arrested last week. The two men are in custody.

Inquiries by the Daily Nation showed that according to registry records, a Toyota Hilux Surf, number KAN 410E is registered to Barnabas Kiposkei Kiprono of PO Box 1459 Eldoret.

One of them allegedly told the officers that the owner of the vehicle left it under their care, telling them he was travelling to Tanzania. Tuesday, police said the owner of the car could not be reached because his phone was switched off.

“The information of him going to Tanzania might have been a ploy to escape and evade arrest,” the police officer said on condition of anonymity.

On Tuesday last week, detectives went to the parking lot and asked for the owners. They arrested the two men who were identified by parking attendants.

The vehicle was then towed to the Mombasa county police headquarters where it stayed for almost a week. Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa told a press conference that the arrest was a breakthrough in the war on terror.

The two bombs were found on the back seat of the vehicle, with cables connected to the dashboard and with a wire leading to a mobile phone.

“We are interrogating the suspects on the use of parts from different models of cars to assemble the vehicle that had the explosive devices. The chassis, plate and engine numbers don’t match,” he said.

Mr Marwa also said security had been beefed up in Mombasa and urged the public to continue with normal activities.

Reported by Bozo Jenje, Galgalo Bocha and Winnie Atieno