Kimaiyo,Ole Lenku Target of Pangani suicide explosion?
The vehicle that blew up, killing two police officers and two terrorists, could have been targeting a function that was to be attended by a Cabinet Secretary and the Inspector-General of police, sources familiar with the investigations said on Thursday.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, had been scheduled to attend a live interview with KTN’s Jeff Koinange at the Eastleigh Mall. However, they were still at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where they had gone to receive President Uhuru Kenyatta from Qatar when the explosion occurred.
The vehicle carrying the explosives was intercepted by police after the driver committed a traffic offence. Two police officers entered the car — a Toyota NZE — while their colleagues followed in a patrol car. On reaching the gates of the police station, the car with the suspects exploded, killing all on board.
Initial reports indicated that a second car driving behind the NZE drove off when the first car was intercepted at the Racecourse/Juja Road junction.
Mr Kimaiyo on Thursday said that detectives had not clearly established where the two suspect vehicles were heading.
“They were driving on the wrong side of the road and we suspect they were targeting a crowded area,” he told the Nation on Thursday.
The suspects’ car was headed towards the city centre at around 8.40pm but was intercepted when it made a U-Turn. Police officers in a patrol car under the command of Corporal Samuel Kabiru saw it and stopped the driver. Two officers — Constable Francis Murage and police driver Samwel Cheptuk — entered the suspects’ vehicle to escort it to nearby Pangani Police Station, followed by their colleagues — Corporal Kabiru and Constable Sarah Eregae — in the patrol car.
DID NOT SEARCH CAR
The officers neither searched the suspects nor their car. The explosive is suspected to have been hidden in a yellow jerrican in the car. One of the suspects also had explosives on his body.
As they entered the station’s gate, the vehicle blew up, killing all the occupants on the spot. Police officers at the reporting office said they heard someone shout “bomb!” before a loud bang and the station was engulfed in dust.
Security experts have criticised the police for failing to exercise care in handling the suspicious car. The office of the Inspector General of Police had earlier indicated that the vehicle was being escorted to the police station to be screened by the bomb experts.
Sources indicated that the officers had not suspected that the vehicle had explosives and intended to charge the occupants with a traffic offence.
“They did not have any prior information about the explosives and had only intended to charge the suspects with a traffic-related offence,” said an officer who sought anonymity.
Doctors, bomb experts and ballistic experts collected samples the blast for analysis. They found human flesh strewn all over the scene. Some of the pieces were 60 metres away. A damaged pistol was found in the wreckage. The officers’ firearms were also extensively damaged.
Police said the terrorists’ car was manufactured in 2000 and was registered to Mr Ahmed Dugal Ali, who was arrested on Thursday.