On the evening of Saturday, May 3rd 2014 a Chania Travellers bus was ripped apart by a massive blast outside the busy bus transport terminal, known as Mwembe Tayari at the Mombasa’s Central Business District.
4 people died in the Mombasa blast and over 50 others sustained injuries after the blasts ripped apart the Chania Travellers bus, shattering windows and mangling metal.
Another blast hit the Reef hotel which lies along the Indian Ocean coastline, no one was hurt, but guests and residents of the leafy Nyali suburb were rattled.
Strategic Intelligence Analysis
The message sent by terrorists to the government of Kenya was simple and clear, ‘we are revenging Somali people profiling by killing the enterprise of the presidents tribesmen.
Chania Travellers is a largely Kikuyu enterprise, the tribe from which the president comes from. The Kikuyu community is the richest and biggest in Kenya and has been stigmatized by political undertones particularly during general elections period.
Targeting of the bus company Chania, is direct profiling. It is meant to equal the current misconception that Kenya is profiling Somali people in its anti-terror fight.
Attempting to bomb a tourist hotel is an indicator of the determination by the terrorists to inflict more damage on the already crippled tourism.
According to David James, Director of Intelligence Analysis at S-I, the terrorists have succeeded to hurt Kenya. There are signs that the terrorists strategy in Kenya is beyond the available expertise within the intelligence and police ranks.
Intelligence Gathering and Analysis on Terrorists Behavior and Cycles
While it is easy to identify and study the cycle of terrorists, it is evident that Kenya may be lacking this expertise. The patterns of these terrorists are etched on the past terrorists events both in Kenya, Tanzania, and Somalia.
Studying these models and cycles can help intelligence officers figure out possible actions of the terrorists. At the same time, Kenya has the National Intelligence Service which is allocated massive resources to support intelligence gathering.
These resources are adequate to map all grey areas and the terror cells, monitor their movement, communication, and associates without raising any suspicion.
We Could Have Identified Targets Based on Previous Intelligence Analysis on Terrorists Trends and Current Security Operations
Operation Usalama Watch has been condemned. Every Somali thinks they are the target. But this is wrong. This is a government effort to fight terror through identifying and isolating terror cells that have no identity and pose as refugees and aliens.
This single most important aspect of the operation usalama watch is a trigger of terrorist actions. It should have been singled out as key indicator of heightened threats on security in the predictive analysis at the intelligence service.
The operation itself is a threat to the state since it has been used to polarize and subsequently inspire Somali people that they are indeed profiled as terrorists; and this itself is a catastrophic ramification on the national security.
Terrorists have insisted on án eye for an eye’ policy, hence we could have singled out tribe and business as the basis of planning the terror attack based on the government leadership tribal composition. The president was the recipient of the message.
Bombing hotels is itself a direct hit on Kenya’s economy and that will not end soon if the intelligence service and police intelligence fail to read between the thin dots of terrorists planning cycles and trends.