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Police enhance security in Mombasa and coast resorts
Sunday, June 24, 2012
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Kenyan authorities have beefed up security in the country’s port city of Mombasa and other key installations around the country after the U.S. warned of an imminent terror attack.
In its travel advisory issued to all Americans living in the east African, Washington also asked all its government workers to leave the coastal town until July 1.
Regional police commander, Aggrey Adoli confirmed that they had received alert and security agencies are on high alert assuring local and foreigners of their safety.
"We have received the information of the attack and our team has swung into action to avert any terrorist acts by insurgent linked with the al Qaida that had earlier threatened to strike," Adoli told Xinhua by telephone in Mombasa.
He said police officers’ comprising the General Service Unit, regular police and Administration Police have been dispatched to tourist resorts within Mombasa, Kiunga and Milimani with military officers stationed at the Dare Slam point at the border.
The East African nation’s coastal towns are the backbone of the country’s thriving tourism industry, which has been hit by the fear of terror attacks and the kidnapping of foreigners by Somali pirates from resorts near the border with Somalia.
Police have particularly warned against the laxity in the screening of cars for explosives at all shopping malls and any business or social gatherings with at least 10 people at any given moment that these might be vulnerable to attacks.
Kenya’s tourism has suffered a decline the number of tourists arriving since September when the Somali militant group, the Al- Shabaab, carried out the kidnappings of tourists in the Lamu archipelago and the kidnapping of the Spanish volunteers.
U.S.-based intelligence firm had in the past also warned of an impending attack by Somalia’s Al-Shabaab, mainly targeting skyscrapers in Kenya capital city Nairobi to hit tall buildings frequented by Westerners, government buildings or hotels.
In its latest alert, Washington said private citizens would not face the same restrictions, but advised them to heed the warning while planning their travels.
But Coast Regional Head Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) Elijah Rop said there was no cause for alarm and security agencies are working hard to ensure everybody is safe.
Rop said police have been thwarting several terror attempts in the country linked to the terror groups and they are still profiling terror cells in Mombasa and other parts of the country to flash out terrorist.
He said the East African nation is also collaborating with other neighboring governments in order to enhance security in the region.
The port city of Mombasa has been on watch for harboring terror suspects including East Africa al Qaida chief Fazul Mohammed who was killed in Somalia after being put on the wanted list by the U. S. government for his role in U.S. embassies bombing in Nairobi and Tanzania in 1998.
Three people were charged in Mombasa court for hosting Fazul towards the end of July 2008.
The advisory came days after police said they had arrested two Iranians after they seized chemicals they suspected were going to be used to make explosives in Mombasa, which has been hit by a series of attacks
The two were netted a hotel in Mombasa after Interpol officers and Federal Bureau of Investigation alerted Kenya authority of their presence in the country after they sneaked into the country with plan to conduct major terror attacks.
A senior police source disclosed that the FBI and Kenya police have working closely in boosting the war on terrorism by sharing intelligent reports.
The coastal city, frequently visited by foreigners for holiday making, has been experienced three grenade attacks with recent one at a nightclub killing one person and wounding several others.
The government blames the Al-Shabaab insurgents for the attacks.
The port city, the capital Nairobi and other parts of Kenya have suffered a series of grenade attacks since Kenya sent troops into Somalia last year to try to crush Al-Shabaab insurgents it blames for a surge in violence and kidnappings of foreigners in Lamu.
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