Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kenya: Bomber Kills Self While Assembling IED, Gov't to Make Major Investment in Anti-Terror Deterrents

According to The Associated Press, a bomb-maker accidentally blew himself up while assembling an IED in a residential area in Nairobi this week.

The detonation just one day after the Australian government advised its citizens against traveling to Nairobi and the coastal town of Mombasa due to the high threat of a terrorist attack and violent crime.

Police are also looking for three other co-conspirators who were seen running from the apartment after the blast in the three-story building, Barasa Wabomba the police chief of the Starehe area in the capital said. 

The blast rocked the building causing cracks in walls and shattering windows. Wabomba could not immediately say who was responsible for the explosion though he said initial suspicion fell on sympathizers of Somalian Islamic extremists.

The unsuccessful bomb-maker was reportedly dismembered from the detonation in thew kitchen.  Police said the four suspects moved into the two-bedroom home, although the landlord became suspicious of their movements and had given them notice to vacate the house at the end of this month.

COMMENT: Kenya has experienced scores of small IED detonations and small arms attacks since al-Qaeda-linked Somalian militants known as al-Shabaab vowed to avenge Kenya for sending troops to Somalia in October 2011 to fight the militants.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the Sept 21 attack on an upscale mall in Nairobi in which at least 67 people were killed by four Somali gunmen, including the nephew of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Earlier Sunday (March 30) police in the coastal city of Lamu found a grenade at the African Independent Pentecostal Church of East Africa, said Lamu west police chief Joseph Sigei.

The incident came a week after gunmen killed six worshippers in a church in the Likoni area of Mombasa. Police Friday (March 28) said they killed two suspects believed to have carried out the attack.

On March 17, Kenyan authorities said anti-terror police foiled a planned terrorist attack in the coastal city of Mombasa after they intercepted a car packed with explosives. Two suspects have been charged in court with terror related offenses.

The Australian government's warning issued Saturday (March 29) said: "We continue to receive regular reports that terrorists are planning a range of attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa ... We now advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Nairobi and Mombasa due to the high threat of terrorist attack and the high level of crime....The attack on the Westgate Mall in 2013 and a series of incidents and attacks in 2014 underscore that there is a serious and ongoing risk of large-scale acts of terrorism in these locations."

The below Australian travel warning should be sufficient for all foreign travelers: 

President Kenyatta said last week that his government will endeavor to neutralize terrorist efforts in Kenya by making the largest single investment in counter-terrorism deterrents since independence in 1964.

For those readers who don't believe the Australian travel warning and those of other developed nations, please consider the following:

The US Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) has carried the threat level for both violent crime and transnational terrorism at "Critical" threat since 1998 on its four-tier categorization system of "Critical, High, Medium and Low."

Having worked in Kenya for over a period of 30 years it is NOT a nation for those who don't have a high level of security vigilance 24/7. Transnational terrorism and violent crime are both formidable threats.

On September 21, 2013, unidentified gunmen attacked the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. The assault, which lasted until September 24, resulted in at least 67 deaths, including four attackers. Over 175 people were reportedly wounded in the mass-casualty shooting, with all of the gunmen reported killed.

The Islamist group, al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the incident, which it characterized as retribution for the Kenyan military's cross-border invasion of Somalia.

Kenyan authorities arrested dozens of people in the aftermath of the attack, but had not announced any suspects directly related to the siege. On  November 4, 2013, a Kenyan court charged four Somali nationals with harboring the slain gunmen in their homes, with each pleading not guilty.

For an in-depth analysis of the al-Shabaab attack conducted by the University of Maryland, see below:

Also, please the below link of the American Society for Industrial Security's report on the Westgate Mall Assault in Nairobi: