Kenya arrests "terror cell" member after blasts

Published: October 26, 2011

Kenya's Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere addresses a news conference in Nairobi September 11, 2011. REUTERS/Noor Khamis
Kenyan police said on Tuesday they arrested a man suspected of belonging to a terrorist group, a day after two blasts in Nairobi killed one person and injured more than 20 others.
The suspect, who had Kenyan identity papers, was detained along with an arms cache including 13 hand grenades, an AK47 rifle, a machine gun, four pistols, ammunition and copies of military literature, they said.
“This is a person who is a member of one of the cells who have been involved in terrorist activities in the country,” Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere told reporters at a house in Kayole, a low-income suburb about 15 km (10 miles) from Nairobi’s centre, where the arms were found.
In Monday’s attacks, hand grenades were thrown at a bar and a bus terminus in the capital.
Many Kenyans suspect the involvement of al Shabaab Islamist rebels based in neighbouring Somalia. However, police have not linked the attacks to the group that is being pursued by Kenyan troops across the border.
Nairobi blames al Shabaab for a series of kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil that has threatened the country’s multi-million dollar tourism industry. The group has denied responsibility for the kidnappings, saying Nairobi is using them as a pretext for its military campaign.
Kenya’s 10-day-old offensive in Somalia and Monday’s attacks have dampened the capital’s normally lively entertainment scene, as residents avoid crowded places for fear of attacks.
In downtown Nairobi, security has been stepped up outside major hotels with some using sniffer dogs while some government buildings have stopped vehicles parking in front.
Village Market, a shopping mall with restaurants, a cinema and a bowling ally in the upmarket Gigiri area that is home to the U.N. offices, cancelled its family Halloween party set for Saturday due to fears of attacks.
“This decision was not in response to a specific threat or concern, but rather a precautionary measure in light of this week’s past events in Nairobi,” Village Market’s management said in a statement.

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