Anti-terror crackdown in Kenyan town ahead of Prince William visit
Nanyuki is the focus of a war on terror, as detectives rounded-up suspects ahead of a visit on Sunday by Britain’s Prince William to British forces based in the town. The crackdown has targeted a number of suspects, including radicalised youth.
Already, police have raided a little known mosque on the outskirts of Nanyuki Town and arrested 40 worshippers who were allegedly being inducted into radical Islamic teachings.
They have since been handed over to the regional offices of the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) in neighbouring Isiolo County. Those released were aged below 18 and were from outside Laikipia County. The arrest at Kabiru Mosque, which neighbours three army barracks, could be a pointer that Islamic preachers are targeting Nanyuki town for radicalisation of youth.
Laikipia East police boss Mutoro Kizito, who led the raid at the mosque, said security officers were “on top of things”.
He added: “Radical Islamic preachers might be thinking that security officers are engrossed in tackling cattle rustlers and invaders of private ranchers. But anyone who sets his foot here to engage in crime will be arrested and prosecuted”. Mr Kizito urged residents to be on the lookout for suspicious people and activities.
He maintained that those arrested were Al-Shabaab sympathisers. “What was the purpose of setting up a camp here in the name of converting people to Islam and teaching Madrassa to children while there are mosques in the counties these suspects come from?” he asked.
The arrests bring to 15 the number of people held by police in the past two months in Nanyuki Town on suspicion of having links to terrorists.
One of the suspects who gave his name as Isaack Ngugi Nyerere was apprehended outside Nanyuki’s Mandera Shopping Complex while preaching in the streets. He did not have identification documents and claimed to have come from Kitui County.
A month earlier, another suspect was arrested as he tried to recruit a woman. The suspect is from Tana River County and has a brother working for the British Army Training Unit (Batuk) in Kenya.