29 officers who participated in interception of a powerful Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) in Merti, Isiolo have been rewarded for exemplary work. The VBIED and other explosives were to be used in attacking a court, Parliament and a church in simultaneous incidents.
The suspects behind the incident had driven with the bombs from Somalia and planned to attack government buildings and release a terror suspect currently facing various charges.
The suspect they planned to free is a Muslim cleric Sheikh Guyo Gorsa who is currently in custody over various terror related charges. Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet flew to Merti on Saturday and announced the team would receive the Distinguished Service Award that is given to officers who excel within the National Police Service. “I came here to commend all the officers who participated in the operation that led to the interception of the vehicle that could have caused huge destruction and deaths,” said Boinnet.
Some 1,199 bullets, 36 unprimed hand grenades, 18 Improvised Explosive Devices and five AK 47 rifles were recovered from an SUV and four other suspects are in custody from the sting operation on February 15, 2018. There were also three military knives in the vehicle that the terrorists planned to use in their attacks.
Police also recovered several SIM cards and mobile phones, a black flag and other paraphernalia associated with Al-Shabaab militia groups, motorcycle and ignition keys from the suspects. The recovery took place in a remote area, almost 200 kilometers from Isiolo Town.
The VBIED had been built into the car and were ready for detonation. Five suspects accused of planning to bomb a court to rescue the radical cleric have been charged with terrorism-related offences. Abdimajit Adan, Mohammed Nane, John Maina, Antony Kitila alias Rasta, and Lydia Nyawira denied nine counts of terrorism charges.
According to the investigators, the accused were arrested on February 15, 2018, while on a mission to attack the Milimani Law Courts on February 16, the day Muslim cleric Guyo Gorsa was scheduled to be arraigned to take a plea — also on terrorism-related charges. The five were charged that on February 15, within and outside the Republic of Kenya and jointly with others not before court, conspired to carry out a terrorist attack.