The Star (Nairobi)

19 September 2012

Kenya: Car Breakdown Saved Nairobi From Suicide Bombers

ONLY a car breakdown saved Nairobi from a suicide bomb attack last week. The two terrorism suspects arrested with bombs in Eastleigh last week were sent to Kenya by a top al Shabaab leader Jafra Hussein from Kismayu. Hussein, the Shabaab commander in the besieged Somali city, was responding to the Kenya Defence Force's continued advance on Kismayu.

Abdimajid Yassin and Ali Hussein were captured in a midnight police raid to their rented flat in Eastleigh on September 14. The raid was conducted by officers of the Special Crime Prevention Unit headed by Noah Katumo. The trio entered Kenya from Somalia border on August 26. They stayed at Dadaab refugee camp for several days before driving to Nairobi in a hired taxi.

The two joined Ahmed Abdurahman and Musa Shukri in Nairobi Kenya. Shukri, a Kenyan national, is head of logistics for al Shabaab in Kenya.They also bought an old maroon Peugeot saloon car for Sh180,000 from a dealer near the Holy Family Basilica. They did not ask for a logbook.

D-Day for the mission was Thursday, September 13. But their vehicle broke down when loaded with the explosives and they were advised to abort the mission. Abdimajid Yassin and Ali Hussein were expected to don the suicide vests with Abdurahman and blow themselves up as martyrs in Parliament, churches and shopping malls, according to police sources.

Four suicide bomb belts, 12 hand grenades, four AK 47 rifles, 481 bullets and two home made bombs were recovered from the house. Commander Jafra Hussein paid them US$4,000 ( Sh340,000) for their upkeep in Nairobi. The house rent was paid on August 10, well before their arrival from Kismayu.

According to Anti Terrorism Police, Jafra is trained in explosives and heads the bomb making unit of al Shabaab. The suicide belts were assembled in the Eastleigh flat after the components were shipped in from Somalia. Ahmed Abdurahman and Musa Shukri were not in the flat when it was raided by the police.

The two suspects told the police that Abdurahman and Shukri men had left the flat at around 5pm heading to the Westlands area of Nairobi for unspecified errands. The two men are on the run. Detectives from the Special Crimes Prevention Unit initially raided the flat after they were tipped that AK47 rifles were being kept there.

At around 1 am on Friday, ten plain clothes officers from the elite unit, backed up by officers from Starehe CID, stormed into the building in Eastleigh Section Two. They found a woman and her children sleeping in a flat on the second floor.They discovered that they were on the wrong floor and were guided upstairs where they forced entry.

Inside the flat, the detectives discovered the weapons arsenal stuffed into traveling bags. The suspects were handed over to Nairobi area CID who questioned them and later handed them over to the Anti-Terrorism Police. Yesterday, Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said police were investigating how the suspects assembled the bombs in their house.

"They wanted to find their way into Parliament and blow themselves while others targeted a senior politician," a police investigator told the Star on Sunday.They wanted to carry out bombings to emulate the August 1998 bombings in Nairobi that destroyed the US Embassy off Moi Avenue.

The bombings were to be coordinated in Kampala, Nairobi and Mombasa. In Mombasa they were to explode their bombs at Pirates Club. Investigators said yesterday the bombs had been put together by an expert. One of the two suspects had previously been hit by a mortar while in Somalia.

He was later treated at three top Nairobi hospitals including KNH. His right hand is partially paralyzed and he has scars from his shoulder to the elbow. After recovering he went back to Somalia. Detectives want to interview the doctors who treated him in Nairobi. The Kenyan youth was convinced that the United States was determined to destroy Muslims and that he needed to join a special group to defend the faith.

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