Tuesday, 20/11/2018 at around 8pm, a gang of 8 men armed with 3 AK47 rifles invaded Chakama Trading centre in Chakama location, Makongeni sub location of Kilifi county.
The gang starts shooting at people sporadically injuring five locals who at the trading centre doing their normal business.
The gang then abduct a 23-year-old female Italian identified as Sylvia Constanca who was working as volunteer for Africa Milele Onlus, a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to raise literacy and education levels in Chakama.
The gang reported to head towards Magarini area with the abducted Italian and their motive not yet known.
Administration Police from Lango Baja AP-Post reinforced by officers from KPS and APS Malindi pursuing the gang.
The injured victims have been taken to Malindi Subcounty for treatment.
Its notable the characteristics of this raid bears the Inghimasi signature (Terrorists special forces).
The abduction of an Italian female working for a NGO is worrying and can be viewed as an indicator of presence of terror cells deeper in Kilifi and that surveillance on the kidnapping victim was conducted by a local cell.
The indiscriminate shooting of people can be viewed as a restrained attack. This would mean the perpetrators are locals who sympathised with fellow villagers (the area is extremely poor).
In 2017 the government took in hundreds Al-Shabaab returnees for rehabilitation in the coastal counties. In Kilifi County the government took some 40 Al-Shabaab returnees to various rehabilitation centres in Mombasa.
However, there dozens of returnees who sneaked back into the country and went in hiding in these coastal counties and security officers suspect the returnees are recruiting and some are spying for the Al-Shabaab.
Intelligence reports show that the hundreds of returnees who secretly sneaked into the country are the ones aiding Al-Shabaab in conducting attacks in areas like Bodhei, Ijara, Wajir, Garissa and other areas bordering the Boni forest.
There has been a number of attempted attacks in along the Boni enclave, an indicator that the terror militants have active cells embedded into the vast forest and the cells have been pivotal in recruitment for the parent group in Somalia.
These events correlate with our recent assessment that Al-Shabaab has managed to plant small cells deeper into our interior and that these small cells may become headaches. The new recruits are used to launch attacks in remote parts of the county citing their geographical/terrain know-how of the county.
Authorities have made a number of arrests to individuals linked terror activities in Kilifi county and comprehensively, the coastal region.
Notable cases include of a 44-year-old woman who was arrested by Kilifi police outside a local branch of NIC Bank. The woman declined to be searched and was found with three passports belonging to three different people.
A former driver with Kilifi county was among key terror suspects place on notice list for plotting and aiding fresh attacks in the region.
Kauni worked as a driver for six months in Kilifi County before he disappeared from his Malindi home three years ago.
In June 2017, another four individuals were arrested for using madrasa to radicalise impressionable Coast youths. The were detained for recruiting students to join terrorist organisations at madrasa in Kilifi and Voi town.
They were arrested in a joint operation in Kikambala, Kilifi County and Voi by anti-terrorism police officers in Mombasa.
It’s highly likely there will be major attacks in near future and that the festive season along the coast maybe disrupted (Note that, unlike in the past when foreigners trooped the Kenyan coast, today it’s the locals who are making tourism thrive as such, perfect targets).
The geographical location aspect of the event has a multiple shock wave to the entire Kilifi tourism hubs (Kilifi, Watamu, Malindi), besides it will also have psychological effect on the locals who are largely poor Christians citing they have been targeted before. Also, important to note is that the area where the event took place (Chakama) is too interior and near the Tsavo.
Another notable is that Government of Kenya (GoK) launched the Baricho water project a few weeks ago. There are more NGO’S in Kilifi County, particularly in the areas towards the remote interior. The road towards Galana Kulalu is through these areas where local terror cells are embedded and have probed attacks before targeting security patrol teams.
Terror threats remain real in the country due to the Somalia-based militants, despite losing a lot of operating ground in the war-torn country and as such Kenyan security agencies called to be on high alert and heighten vigilance in the coastal counties as well as the upper and lower northeastern prefectures of Kenya during the coming festive season.