Al Shabaab militants had attempted to detonate 173kg of TNT explosives in a foiled terror plot, a senior police officer has said.
The explosives were mounted in a vehicle parked at the police headquarters near State House, Mombasa.
The Star has establish the two main detonators—Nokia 1208 mobile phones—failed to trigger the improvised explosive devices after they run out of charge.
The two phones were discovered when American FBI agencies with aid of satellite devices located the vehicle.
It had been trailed from Gedo, an al Shabbab base in Somalia.
A senior police officer told the Star that Kenya security agencies were only acting on instructions from the US FBI agencies and we not aware of the magnitude of explosives in the vehicle.
The impact of six piped bombs could have ripped off sections of statehouse, CID department and Anti terror police officers.
“It could be a major achievement to Alshabab terror group and setback to the counter terrorism in the country.” said Atpu officers.
The cell phones remains most popular since they are convenient in sending signal via radio airwaves that energizes a relay connected to a blasting cap, which in turn detonates explosive material.
The second detonator was SAFE ARM that was in build in dashboard of the vehicle.
Safe Arm used to ensure explosives are safely transported. The other role it’s used main detonator and its usually used during a suicide mission.
“It’s possible they had attempted to detonate the explosives but it became impossible since there was no link between,”said a bomb disposing officer who sought anonymity
‘’The seized explosives were remote-control IED terrorists’ first choice of bomb,” said the officer.
Unconfirmed reports said the main mastermind had delivered the explosives in Mombasa in early March and and slipped to Tanzania. He was expected to return after two weeks to execute the plot.
Police have released his name as Abdi a Somalia national.
“We have seized his mobile a Nokia and sent to cyber crime detectives at CID headquarters for further analysis,” said a senior ATPU officer privy to the investigation .
He was accompanied by one of the terror suspect Abdiazziz Abdulahi arrested with explosive on March 11 at yard near Moi international airport in Changamwe.
Documents obtained by the Star indicates that the two arrived in the country and booked in a lodging within Magongo area in Changamwe .He had checked into the lodging with the second suspect Isaak Noor Ibrahim a Kenyan .
The detectives believe Abbiazziz was among those behind the planned attack .
He had enrolled at Unik driving school in Changamwe where he was assigned an instructor of Somalia origin since he had difficulty in communication. The instructor identified as Mohammed Day was arrested too and he is assisting police with investigations.The role of the Kenya agencies was to intercept the vehicle and its occupants who later emerged to be the most wanted terror suspects after they were tipped by America FBI.
Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa said ‘’The FBI was involved in the operation that led to successful seizure and detonation of the explosives.
They are believed to have transported the explosives either through the Daadad Camp in Northern Kenya or through the Kenya border with Tanzania at Lunga Lunga.Bomb disposal unit officers on Thursday successfully detonated 173 kilograms of Trinitrotoluene TNT explosives The operation was led by senior superintended of police Eliud Langat and Salim Mwalonya.The Al-Qaida terror group used the similar TNT explosive during the August 7, 1998 at US Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in coordinated truck bombings.
Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa said the attackers targeted a large crowd and possibly a building that was over 14 storeys high in order to cause maximum damage, resulting in a high numbers of fatalities.
The National intelligence service is grumbling with the latest second terror plot attack that could been a major setback to the jubilee government.
In September last year the country suffered terror attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi where 67 people were killed exposing the soft underbelly of security apparatus.