Capital FM (Nairobi)

19 September 2012

Kenya: 20 Illegal Somali, Ethiopian Aliens Nabbed in Eastleigh

Twenty three Somali and Ethiopian aliens were arrested in a security operation in Nairobi's Eastleigh estate on Wednesday afternoon.

The aliens were arrested following a tip-off from the public that a large group of foreigners had arrived in the estate earlier in the morning.

"They were arrested in a security operation. Such operations will continue to be carried out randomly," Nairobi deputy police Chief Moses Nyakwama said.

He said the suspects will appear in court on Thursday to face various charges, including being in the country illegally because none of them possessed valid documents.

A police officer involved in the operation told Capital FM News some of them had fake Somali passports and alien certificates.

Last week two suspects were arrested in the area after they were found with dangerous weapons including six suicide bombs, 12 grenades, four AK-47 rifles and 481 bullets.

Both of them were charged in court on Tuesday, with one admitting he was an Al Shabaab member. A magistrate ordered that his mental status be examined to establish if he is fit to stand trial.

Police have announced that they are still looking for eight suspects who were planning to carry out a terrorist attack last Sunday alongside the two who were charged.

"We believe that they are involved in the process either as suicide bombers, advisors or as masterminds. Some of the explosives have remote detonation devices and therefore we believe that wherever they went, they would be in multiples so that in the event the suicide bomber developed cold feet the other one will detonate him," Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said when he displayed the arsenal.

He said the eight are thought to be Kenyan and Somali nationals.

Police have called on dealers in motor vehicle and bicycle ball bearings to scrutinise their customers carefully as the explosives recovered were made from the materials.

"We believe that they are involved in the process either as suicide bombers, advisors or as masterminds. Some of the explosives have remote detonation devices and therefore we believe that wherever they went, they would be in multiples so that in the event the suicide bomber developed cold feet the other one will detonate him," Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said when he displayed the arsenal.

According to the police, one of the suicide bomb vests recovered from the suspects has a capacity of killing over 70 people.

"These ball bearings which are used as projectiles are easy to find in the market and so we appeal those who stock them to adopt a 'know your customer' policy on any person buying these things in large numbers," advised the spokesman.

The police spokesman said that Nairobi would have been the likely target although various other towns with large populations would have been likely targets.

"We do not have the hard evidence on the likely targets... we are thinking of the traditional terrorism targets, places which are overcrowded but certainly not only in Nairobi," he insisted adding that additional care must also be taken in entertainment spots.

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