On 15 February 2018 Kenya police on a routine patrol in Merti Division, Isiolo County intercepted and arrested two al Shabaab operatives in a vehicle on their way to Nairobi. The two terrorists identified as Abdimajit Hasan Adan and Mohammed Nanne Osman were traveling a vehicle laden with high-grade improvised explosive devices with a target in Nairobi. The thwarted attack was projected to have been the deadliest attack outside of Somalia and or in Kenya by the al Shabaab since the Garissa university attack in April 2015.
The arrest and subsequent thwarting of the terror plot exposed a looming threat to Kenya from al Shabaab, especially because not all members of the involved terror cell were arrested following the bust. According to a report pertaining to the terror plot; 5 type 56-2 AK pattern assault rifles 36 magazines of ammunition and 36 grenades were recovered by the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit. Following further investigations, it was discovered that most of the rifles recovered where purchased by the Federal government of Somalia following the partial arms embargo lift.
Prior to the arrests, S.I had provided warning of the presence of the Suicide cells in Nairobi’s Kirinyaga Road cautioning that the cell could conduct major attacks in Kenya especially within the capital. The threat can still be viewed as imminent seeing as the 5 Suicide Bombers who would have carried out the attack are still at large because the arrest and impound of the suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) were quite opportunistic.
While Kenya is continuously at risk of attacks from al Shabaab, the lack of a sustainable security force in Somalia is a secondary and yet major threat to Kenya. The threat from Somalia comes in form of weapons imported by the government in Somalia that end up in the hands of al Shabaab terrorists that can be used to attack Kenya targets either in the border areas as well as by terror cells within the Kenyan capital.
Unmonitored terror cells forming and operating in Kenya are causing a major threat to the country’s security seeing as they can be activated and be supplied with the necessary resources to conduct attacks in the country. Therefore, it is important that the Kenyan anti-terrorism infrastructure tighten the noose on possible terror cells by capping their various networks including the financial resources and system. For instance, the thwarted plot was reportedly planned and financed by the Amniyat wing through an operative that sent close to $30000 to finance the plots and others in Kenya.