How Kenya foiled a major terror plot, arresting terror suspects

Had intelligence officers not intercepted the terrorists several Kenyans would be dead by now.

Iranians Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad (left) and Sayed Mansour Mousavi in court

Details have emerged of how security agencies, working closely with the Judiciary and intelligence agencies nabbed two terrorists and retrieved explosives.

Had intelligence officers not intercepted the two terrorists in Nairobi, hundreds of innocent Kenyans would be dead by now.

The plot began in 2012 when two Iranian nationals Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and his counterpart Sayed Mansour Mousavi jetted into Nairobi and contacted a Kenyan who had been placed on security watch by the intelligence over suspected links with Somalia terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

The two, travelling as tourists were to spend 10 days in the country and had been booked to stay in Mombasa’s Castle Royal Hotel.

On June 14 at the Castle Royal, they asked for a taxi to take them to various tourist sites in Mombasa in what is believed to be a scouting mission for various locations where they could exert maximum damage and casualties.

Suspicious visits

A taxi driver identified as Dennis Kamanga took them to Moorings Restaurant in north coast that has a capacity of 100 revellers.

Afterwards they went to a Hindu temple, Jomo Kenyatta beach public beach in Mombasa and later to Haller Park in Bamburi.

They would visit the Mombasa Golf Club at least twice for unkown reasons . After their arrest, they would later lead the police to a spot within the golf course where they had buried 15 kilogrammes of RDX explosive.

Times of Israel reports, quoting the country’s intelligence sources that another 85 kilogrammes of explosives were also shipped to Kenya as well, though the men did not give police details on where the explosives were.

Curiously, the duo left Royal Castle where they had booked to stay for 10 days, after just for days and flew to Nairobi where they checked in at the Laico Regency.

By this time, security agencies had got wind of their presence and launhed a manhunt, tracking them to Mombasa and then Nairobi.

Perhaps aware that police were hot on their trails, the duo would check out of Laico Regency and board a taxi to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, ready to leave the country.

They were however intercepted by Anti-Terrorism Police Unit officers before they could reach the airport, setting the stage for a long legal battle that would put diplomatic relations between Kenya and Iran into sharp focus.

Ambassador caught up in plot to smuggle suspected terrorists

Tehran would hire legal representation for the two terrorists, reported to be members of Iran’s secretive Quds corps tasked to revenge the killing of the country’s nuclear scientists by Israel.

A Nairobi court sentenced them to life imprisonment that would later reduced to 15-years in jail after they appealed at the High Court.

The case would move to the Court of Appeal where three judges quashed the sentence and set them free, a decision that saw the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) moved to the Supreme Court to challenge their release.

On 15 March 2019, Supreme Court sentenced Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammed and Sayed Mansour Mousavi to 15 years in jail, a decision which saw Tehran protest and summon Kenyan Ambassador to Iran Rukia Ahmed Subow.

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