Find out why Kenyan and Tanzanian intelligence agencies on high alert

Security concern for Kenyans and Tanzanians.

[FILE PHOTO] A section of the Recce Squad, an elite paramilitary unity of Kenya's General Service Unit.

Kenyan and Tanzanian intelligence agencies on high alert after reports that Islamist insurgents from Mozambique have entered the respective countries.

The news comes only days after the two neighboring countries experienced terror-related incidents.

On Monday, Kenyan security personnel in Mombasa arrested two suspected terrorists, one of whom is Tanzanian, and found two AK-47 rifles and explosive-making materials in their car.

Police said they were suspected of planning to blow up several installations on the anniversary of the death of radical Muslim cleric Sheikh Aboud Rogo, who was shot dead on August 27, 2012 in Mombasa.

On Wednesday, a lone gunman, 29-year-old Hamza Hassan Mohamed, killed four people in Tanzania, including three police officers, before police officers shot him dead. Six other people were injured in the incident.

The two incidents, though not directly related, have seen both countries’ security agencies heighten vigilance, fearing that the former violent residents of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique are returning to their home countries.

Liberatus Sabas, Tanzanian Police Commissioner of Operations and Training, while saying that the motive of the Dar es Salaam attacker remained unknown, did not rule out connections to the military operation in northern Mozambique.

Mozambique has been battling terrorists calling themselves al Shabaab, whom the US has designated as Islamic State affiliates.

Northern Mozambique is seen as the latest haven for terrorists from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Police in Mombasa revealed that accomplices of the two suspects arrested at the Likoni channel crossing had recently been to Mozambique and the DRC.

In March, Kenyan intelligence reports flagged several citizens, especially from the Coast region, as having joined the ranks of the Mozambique insurgents.

The reports indicated that several youth who had been radicalised by the late Sheikh Aboud Rogo were among those who went to northern Mozambique.

A number of the youth were reported to have fled to Mozambique after Rogo was killed, through Tanzania’s Kibiti area, where they had built a presence by 2015.

In this week’s arrests, one of the wanted men, 28-year-old Salim Rashid Mohammed alias Chotara, is said to have escaped the police ambush and is suspected of having slipped back into Tanzania through the Lunga Lunga border.

Mohammed had, in 2016, been arrested in Mombasa on terror-related allegations and released on bond. He was arrested again in 2017 and charged with terror-related activities. It is said he jumped bail and vanished.

It is also understood that he is linked to Abdulhakim Saggar, a businessman who was arrested by Anti-terrorism Police Unit officers in Mombasa, a fortnight ago.

Saggar, it is alleged, was to aid with the foiled Mombasa attack and was to link the terrorists with two other accomplices, who would later conduct the attack planned for August 27.

Saggar was first arrested in 2018 and charged in court with possessing terror-related materials on his phone. His arrest came right after that of one of his employees, putting him on the radar of detectives.

According to Saggar’s family, Alfan Ali Juma was arrested in Mandera in Kenya’s northeast in 2018 and mentioned Saggar to be his employer. Juma was arrested together with another suspect identified as Abdul Satar.

They were later taken to Muthaiga Police Station in Nairobi and presented at a Milimani court and held at Kamiti Prison in Nairobi.

Juma was later transferred to Shimo la Tewa Prison in Mombasa and was released on a free bond on condition that he report to the ATPU offices in the Coast region. But he would later go missing. To date, his kin say they have no information about his whereabouts.

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