Kenya: Police arrest 4 terror suspects en route to join IS

Kenya’s security officers said Sunday they are holding four terror suspects after being arrested at the border with Uganda while escaping to travel to Libya to join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS) terror group.

Police spokesman George Kinoti said the four suspects who all have pending court cases in the coastal city of Mombasa were nabbed at the Busia border late Saturday.

Kinoti said Kassim Ahmed Ali, Ali Omar Bwanaadi, Muhammed Kassim Abdalla and Mustaha Kheri Shali will appear in court in Mombasa on Monday.

“The four suspects were arrested at the Busia border while planning to travel to Libya to join IS. These are fugitives on the run,” Kinoti told Xinhua by telephone.

He said the four suspects who were initially charged for planning to carry out a massive terror attack in Mombasa in January had been out on bail after being released by the Mombasa court.

“Shali is unknown and he was together with the two ladies but investigation is on to identify them. One of the men initially said they were going to Juba,” Kinoti said.

The arrests come after anti-terrorist police said they have unearthed a syndicate of extremist online recruiters who have been targeting university students to join armed extremist groups in Libya and the Middle East.

The recruiters lure these youths with the promise of well-paying jobs in foreign countries only for the hapless youth to find themselves forcefully recruited into these extremist groups, the police said.

Security experts say Kenya has been a soft target for terrorist activities since 1998 and the menace has evolved as radical groups from the Horn of Africa infiltrate the country to kill and maim innocent civilians.

They said what has changed and is noticeable for it is the increase in vigilance by the general public and the fact that if they see something that they consider to be suspicious, they are more likely to report it to the police than they were.

The police, on their side, the experts said, are becoming more professional in their assessment of potential incidents.

Kinoti said security officers have made significant progress in counter terrorism measures which have seen the officers foil several terror threats including arrest of several terror suspects across the country.