|Kenya ups security amid terror threats during Ramadan|
|Saturday, 21 July 2012 00:00|
Nairobi regional police commander Anthony Kibuchi called on members of the public to remain watchful and report any suspicious characters that may be planning to commit various atrocities across the country.
“Al-Shabaab terrorists have issued threats that they will carry out massive destruction during Holy month of Ramadan. Let everybody be extra alert,” Kibuchi told Xinhua on Friday.
He said the police have received intelligence of a new threat that the most notorious terror group blamed for bomb and grenade attacks including abduction of foreigners in Kenya has threatened to carry out terror activities in Nairobi.
The warning comes as millions of Muslim community in Kenya prepares to observe the Holy month of Ramadan beginning on Saturday.
The Holy month of Ramadhan marks an important period in the Muslim calendar as it is a special time of both sacrifice and purification when Muslims across the world renew their commitment to obey and serve God.
The move also comes as hundreds of Kenyan security forces, backed by armoured vehicles and helicopters have been deployed near the border with Somalia, amid concerns the Al-Shabaab militia was preparing for fresh attack.
“Let us all remain extra vigilant and whoever sights any suspicious character, strange vehicle with strange characters or anything suspicious to report to the nearest security personnel without any delay,” Kibuchi said.
The Al-Qaida allied militants have vowed to attack Nairobi after the east African nation which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the signing of the federal charter for Somalia in 2005, invaded Somalia to flush out the insurgents it blamed for kidnappings of tourists.
A day after Kenya had launched its military action in Somalia on October 16, 2011 an Al Shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud warned that the terror group would launch retaliatory attacks in Kenyan cities if authorities do not withdraw troops from Somalia.
The latest warning by the police comes as the UN Office in Nairobi warned that the insurgents are planning terror attacks at one of its agencies or offices in the Kenyan capital.
“It is possible that the increase in media reporting on UN aid to African Union Peacekeeping Mission (AMISOM) forces as well as on security at the Dadaab refugee camp could have contributed to raising the profile and priority of the UN as a potential target,” says the UN report which was published by the Daily Nation newspaper.
But Kibuchi appealed to Kenyans to be extra alert and to take positively the heightened security measures being undertaken by the police in Nairobi.
“I once again appeal to everybody in Nairobi to continue to be extra alert and to take the security measures being undertaken positive whatever social, political or economic,” Kibuchi said. The police officers patrolling major streets in Nairobi on Friday said security is being stepped up in all hotels, key buildings and restaurants, particularly along the border with neighboring Somalia where al Qaeda-linked fighters are waging an insurgency to avert reprisals.
“Our work is to ensure that you are safe and that is why we are patrolling streets, key buildings and major hotels to ensure that everything is perfect,” said a police officer who did not want to be named.
The police said they are concerned that most public facilities have lowered their security alertness unlike early this year when Kenya started pursuing Al-Shabaab. — Xinhua.