Police intensify search for most wanted terror suspect
Police have zeroed in on most wanted terror suspect Abdullahi Banati as the mastermind of a group targeting security forces in parts of the North Eastern region.
According to a security brief seen by the Sunday Nation, the group’s operations include an intelligence wing that shares information on potential targets.
Mr Banati is not a new name to the police, but he has remained elusive. despite efforts to locate him.
He is thought to be part of a group that operates between Somalia and Kenya carrying out attacks using Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) targeting the police.
A source within the security agencies this week told the Sunday Nation that it is suspected Mr Banati led the group of terrorists that planted the IEDs which killed 11 police officers last month in Garissa County.
“Our officers traced his activities and his team to the border, and we believe they escaped to Somalia immediately the attack took place, but we shall get him,” said the source who spoke in confidence.
Our source further revealed that Mr Banati has been receiving aid from a some refugees who reside within the vast Dadaab Camp who police are also tracking down.
His name has featured in all the three deadliest attacks that have taken place in Kenya over the years. He is said to have joined the terror group in 2012.
In the Dusit D2 attack- his name featured adversely with the police believing that he played a key role in the transportation of the fighters who participated in the attack from Somalia to Kenya.
Police also said that he played a similar role in the 2013 West Gate attack.
In 2015- during the Garissa University attack- the suspect is believed to have hosted the terrorists who carried out the killings. It has also suspected that he was among fighters who stormed Baure KDF camp in Lamu County, in June 2015 where 11 terrorists were killed by the Kenyan military.
Police believe that he was seriously injured in the attack and went into hiding.
Mr Banati’s group is said to have a huge presence in various parts of the Kenya- Somalia border. They are divided in various groups with each said to have eight to 10 members.
“They are usually not far away from where an attack has taken place. They are mostly eight in every group. Each has various roles that include; monitoring of vehicle movement, others plant the IEDs with others keeping an eye just in case a fight breaks between them and the police,” our security source said.
The IEDs that are used in Kenya are suspected to be assembled in Gilib, Somalia, and transported to Lanqurac where they are distributed to the terrorist group. The IEDs are usually transported by donkey carts.
Top of its informants are women who gather information within the Kenyan- Somalia border and share it with the fighters, security officials believe. The group prefers working with the women and not herders who were previously key informants.
Inspector General of police Hillary Mutyambai immediately after the attack said that police officers had been deployed to the region to deal with the insecurity in the region.
In addition, he said that he had dispatched additional resources including aerial surveillance capability to deal with the operation.