Five people are currently in police custody after a tip-off from the members of the public in Mombasa’s Likoni area. The three men and two women were nabbed in a hideout situated in a shanty setting in the estate.
Extremist material, marked maps, fake travel documents, IEDs and an assortment of weaponry were seized in the sweep that left members of the public in awe. Since the launch of the anonymous report system launched by the government to curb crimes and violent extremism, similar arrests have increased as police conduct surprise crackdowns on the suspects.
According to the county commissioner, the new system allows citizens to lodge any suspicious activities or persons into the system without revealing their identities. Since security agencies began working with the public to curb violent extremism, community initiatives have been on the rise leaving extremists almost no chance to launch their operations.
The new system will now provide protection for Kenyans willing to report issues on terrorism or crime with the fear of stigmatization and alienation by community members.
Al Shabaab links
The five suspects are said to have links with Al Qaeda allied group Al Shabaab with two of them being serial offenders who had been sentenced severally in the past. Police say the female militants were only 23 years old while their male counterparts range between 30 and 37.
On further probing, the individuals are said to have revealed plans by the Al Shabaab militia group for an attack on both Mombasa and Nairobi this festive season. Police say they acted on the report as soon as they could due to crucial details contained therein.
Al Shabaab militants are said to have fled Somalia due to the dwindling state of the organization, with attempts to garner more following in the coastal region. However, many of these militants have ended up either killed or in police custody as the campaign on vigilance intensifies.
In recent days, the militia group has made attempts to launch attacks on Nairobi, Isiolo, Nyeri, Mombasa and Lamu all with no success. The foiled attacks have been owed to collaboration between security agencies, the launch of counterterrorism forums by county governments and community policing systems.