STEPHEN MUDIARI | NATION Intercontinental hotel in Nairobi, on October 23, 2011. Police carried out a routine security check in major hotels in the City, after the American Embassy released information that the Al Shabaab militia were planning an attack.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Security was intensified in Nairobi on Sunday after a suspicious object was found in a five-star hotel.
A joint team of detectives comprising bomb experts and anti-terror officers visited most parts of the city in a covert operation to flush out terror suspects.
At the Intercontinental Hotel, a suspicious object was found in room 574, which had been booked by a British national.
The grenade-looking object contained green capsules, which police officers could not immediately identify.
According to hotel records, the visitor checked into the hotel on October 17 with a lady. He was to stay there until October 30.
However, he only stayed that night and was never seen again. A cleaner who visited the room yesterday morning noticed the object and alerted the management who informed the police.
By Sunday, police had not located the visitor.
Head of the Anti-narcotics police unit Sebastian Ndaru later said the substance found in the container was neither an explosive nor a drug.
Security has also been heightened in most hospitals.
At the Nairobi Hospital, all vehicles and people were thoroughly screened before entering the compound and the visiting time restricted to between 4pm and 6pm.
At the Aga Khan University Hospital, private guards and police were seen conducting checks.
Nairobi Police boss Anthony Kibuchi said his officers were now cooperating with such institutions and he was happy with the flow of information. Police have also reminded the public to be alert.
“Let Kenyans know that their security begins with them,” said Mr Kibuchi. He assured Kenyans that adequate security measures were in place to avert a retaliatory attack by Al-Shabaab.
The police boss said the operation to clear all illegal structures near vital installations and institutions that may be used as hideouts for criminals will continue.
The first operation was conducted around the Moi Airbase, Eastleigh where stalls and residential structures were flattened.
And on Saturday, a similar operation was carried in Kyangombe slums, Embakasi to clear the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport flight path.
On Sunday, the police said the operation would continue though they could not disclose their next stop.
Police in Nakuru have also beefed up security to counter any terror attacks.
Rift Valley PC Osman Warfa on Sunday said Nakuru posed a security risk area because of its location as a transit town.
“We want to thoroughly inspect buses plying this route for neighbouring countries to weed out suspected terrorists,” said Mr Warfa.
He also directed the hotel workers and bar owners to conduct thorough scrutiny of visitors to their facilities.
“If you are a hawker, waiter or hotel manager, ensure suspicious visitors are handed over to police,” said Mr Warfa.