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Inside the leaked intelligence report on Al Shabaab’s plan to attack Kenya

Suspected Al Shabaab militants are currently engaged in a deadly gun battle with National Police Service (NPS) officers in the Pandanguo area of Lamu County.

The exchange of fire began moments after a police Land Cruiser carrying officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) was ambushed.

Lamu West Deputy County Commissioner Gabriel Kioni said the GSU officers’ vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device (IED) at 9.30 am.

“There was an exchange of fire between the suspected terrorists and our officers. However, so far we have not received any reports of casualties,” Mr Kioni said.

The police Land Cruiser had left the Pandanguo GSU camp and was on its normal morning patrol in the area bordering Boni Forest when the incident occurred.

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Another police cruiser carrying Kenya Defence Force (KDF) officers on a rescue mission also hit an IED. A police source said there were casualties in the second incident.

It is worth noting that the incident occurred just seven days after the National Intelligence Service (NIS) issued a warning of possible terrorist attacks, urging security agencies to be vigilant.

On Sunday, June 11, 2023, the NIS warned that Al Shabaab militants had begun to regroup to wreak havoc in the country.

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A leaked intelligence report, seen by this reporter, revealed that Al Shabaab militants were planning an attack. The leaked information stated that the militants were also in possession of explosives.

In the report, NIS advised that it was important to set up roadblocks and that all vehicles should undergo security checks in order to avert the suspected attacks.

It gave specific information on where and when the vehicles carrying explosives were located and where they had come from.

“The type of vehicle is a Toyota Land Cruiser, colour not revealed, on board are eight explosives experts and each vehicle carries four militants,” read part of the intelligence report.

Due to the matter’s sensitivity, we will not specify the areas where the reports indicate the attacks may occur.

The intelligence report also said that Al Shabaab militants had held a meeting in Holawajeer, Somalia, which is in southern Somalia, towards the Kenyan border.

In Holawajeer, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) officers carried out an attack six years ago that killed 31 Al Shabaab terrorists, including a top commander.

“The transport of explosives by Al Shabaab militants towards our cities is an indicator of a planned terrorist attack. Meanwhile, security checks are being carried out at all roadblocks to prevent any possible attack. Surveillance will continue,” the intelligence report added.

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On June 13, 2023, two days after the intelligence report on the presence of suspected militants was shared among the country’s security organs, eight security officers were killed after the vehicle they were travelling in hit a landmine in Garissa County.

The eight officers were patrolling along the Garissa-Lamu border when the incident occurred.

Photos taken at the scene showed the vehicle overturned due to the impact of the blast.

On the same day, another group of security personnel was attacked by suspected Al Shabaab militants, but the officers escaped unharmed.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki is currently in Lamu, which in the past has been a playground for suspected Al Shabaab militants, where he is meeting top security officials.

The coastal county has been plagued by insecurity in the past, with hundreds of deaths and millions of dollars worth of property destroyed.

On his first day in Lamu, the CS said terrorism topped the list of national security threats.

On the same day, three people were injured when suspected Al Shabaab militants sprayed bullets at a PSV travelling from Nairobi to Mandera.

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The bus had been stopped by the suspected militant and, sensing danger, the driver disobeyed orders and sped off. Despite having a flat tyre, the driver managed to escape to safety.

On June 15, suspected Al Shabaab militants, numbering fifteen, stopped a bus travelling between Nairobi and Mandera.

The militants ordered the passengers to get off the bus, but none of them were locals and they were asked to get on and continue their journey.

The incidents come as Kenya has agreed to open its border with Somalia, which has been closed for 12 years.

The Kenya-Somalia border was closed in 2011 when Kenya launched Operation Linda Nchi to combat the influx of Al Shabaab fighters into the country.

Prof Kindiki said the first place to be opened will be Bula Hawa in Mandera, then Liboi in Mandera and Ras Kamboni in Lamu County.

Nairobi News contacted Dr Resalia Onyango, the spokesperson for the National Police Service, who said she was not privy to the release of intelligence reports on possible attacks to security agencies.

“I am not aware of the intelligence on the possible attacks, I will get back to you after getting information from the ground,” she said.

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