There is an Increasing Threat of Terrorism in Kenya and AMISOM Contributing Countries including Uganda and Djibouti. Tanzania which neighbors Kenya and has active Al-Qaeda cells is also likely to suffer attacks.
The Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen movement (HSM) is planning to conduct multiple terror attacks targeting civilians and government officers in mainland and coastal Kenya in coming days and within the month of February.
Intelligence collected and produced by analysts at Strategic Intelligence Service (SIS) warns of spectacular attacks targeting soft and hard targets in Kenya.
The mastermind of the attacks is Ahmad Iman Ali, a Kenyan born from Majengo area of the capital Nairobi now a top commander, finance mobilization, and propaganda chief of the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, which calls itself, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen movement (HSM).
The terror group plans to use the 1998 suicide vehicle bound improvised explosive devices (SVBIED) against multiple targets model of attack. The attack in 1998 US Embassy bombing in Kenya and Tanzania left hundreds dead and others badly injured.
The psychological effect of the attacks is meant to outweigh the physical damage the attacks cause. Ahmad Iman Ali is attempting to rise to the helm of Al-Shabaab, particularly in larger East Africa. There are no more top commanders from Kenya after the death of Mohamed Kuno Dulyadeen in June 2016 after KDF commandos and Jubbaland Forces conducted a spectacular Special Forces raid on his convoy north of the port city of Kismayu.
Al-Shabaab plans to revenge the death of Mahad Karatey, their Intelligence Chief and Muhamed Dulyadeen. Both were killed in 2016. The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) were directly involved in the operations. These could be factors prompting the impeding attack.
The Unite States early January 2017 issued a terror warning for the Republic of Kenya warning its citizens to avoid the North Eastern Province (NEP) and some crime prone coastal areas of Kenya specifically Kilifi, Mombasa, Lamu, and Malindi.
Strategic Intelligence Service (SIS) warns of attacks in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Lamu, Kilifi, Mombasa, and Nairobi. Other mainland towns that have never witnessed terror activities like Western, Nyanza, and Rift Valley may be targeted. Intelligence shows that some returnees who claim to have denounced terrorism came back as terror cells. They’ve been activated. Most of these cells are natives of these regions but left for Somalia between 2009 and 2015. Often, terror cells are likely to conduct attacks against targets that they are acquainted with for psychological and social factors.
In Nairobi, Wajir, Mandera, and Coastal towns, government security particularly police stations and army forward operating bases will be targeted. The objective is to outbid government in the largely Muslim region thus create a sense of fear and submission to the terror group by the Muslims in the regions.
- Security agencies in Kenya must start auditing all persons who have returned from Somalia.
- Civilian vehicles must not be allowed near or inside police stations to avoid SVBIED successes (most SVBIED’s are used as activation, armed men then storm the target from a different direction to conduct an assault and subsequently a siege).
- Hotels, malls, and other public and tourist havens should vet their visitors, improve security all around their premises, and ensure gates are always locked and only opened after proper searches have been conducted.
- Army checkpoints and FOB’s must be secured by concealed cover fire and an effective scout at a strategic distance to ensure threat neutralization is swift.
- Immediate destruction of suspected terror cells under surveillance will help in preempting besides arresting or even killing of the other terror cells involved in these plans.