What you need to know:
- Al-Shaabab has for the last two years been unable to carry out a large-scale strike.
- Kenyan security agencies believe the militant group is planning airstrikes to avenge the deaths of its top generals.
Security agencies are on high alert for a possible terror attack after two women were arrested on Wednesday with a cache of high-caliber weapons and thousands of bullets in a raid on their house at Racecourse Estate in Dagoretti, Nairobi.
The discovery, second of such a scale in just three weeks, has caused concerns within security circles following the sudden surge in weapon smuggling into Nairobi.
For the last two weeks, Nairobi has been on terror alert as police look for a Mr Rashid Mwalimu, whom they suspect will use his expertise as a pilot to carry out an air (aviation-linked) attack on Kenya.
Mr Rashid, security authorities say, is a Kenyan currently in Somalia planning an attack on his own country
He is said to have been personal friends with Ali Salim Gichunge — the mastermind of the Dusit-D2 attack of 2019, which left more than 20 dead.
In the latest scare, officers from the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) on Wednesday arrested a woman and her mother in the Nairobi raid.
The weapons, according to Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), are suspected to have been sneaked into the country for a terror attack by the two women who hold dual citizenship.
The cache included an M4 sniper rifle, four pistols, a close-quarter Uzi automatic submachine gun and an assortment of over 3,700 bullets of different caliber.
“Also recovered in the operation were four pistols and a close quarter Uzi automatic submachine gun, capable of firing over 600 rounds per minute,” said the DCI.
An M4 is a high-caliber American rifle that has a 14.5 inches (370 mm) barrel and a telescoping stock. It is essentially a lighter and shorter variant of the M16A2 assault rifle.
An Uzi submachine gun, compact automatic weapon, is used throughout the world as a police and special-forces firearm.
It is named after its designer Uziel Gal, an Israeli army officer who developed it after the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. The weapon was phased out by the Israeli army in 2003.
Al-Shaabab, the Somalia-based terror group, has for the last two years been unable to carry out a large-scale strike as it is believed to be weakening due to airstrikes on its bases that has left several commanders dead.
Kenyan security agencies now believe that the militant group is planning airstrikes to avenge the deaths of its top generals, adding that it has trained pilots to actualise its plans.
Heavily armed suspects
Last month, three suspects were arrested and eight AK-47 rifles, two bullets, eight magazines and 20 litres of petrol seized by police in Garissa County.
North Eastern Regional Commissioner Nicodemus Ndalana said the suspects were heavily armed and investigations had already been launched to unmask their motives.
“The suspects were heavily armed but we arrested them and we have them in our cells. I will personally lead the team to ensure we conduct proper investigations on this matter,” Ndalana said.
He added that they wanted to know the source of the weapons, the transporters, who ordered them and their intentions so that they build a solid case against them in court.
The three were arrested along the Baraki – Maalmin road, Lagdera sub-county, by police who were on their way to a National Police Reservists (NPR) post.
The officers spotted the three men in a white Toyota Succeed car registration number KCY 953L.
According to police, Abdirizack Mohamed (24), Jimale Abey Mahamud (21) and Nur Ibrahim Alasow (30) behaved suspiciously when they were told to pull over their vehicle but instead drove into the nearby bushes to avoid police check.