Kenyan anti-terrorism police officers on Tuesday shot dead three terror suspects after a gun battle in Likoni area in the coastal city of Mombasa.
Paul Leting, Acting Coast Regional Directorate of Criminal Investigation Coordinator said the three were gunned down during a dawn raid in the Majengo Mapya neighborhood after police raided a house where the suspects were hiding.
“We have scaled up operation through a multi agency approach. We were guided by very critical information on some people who have been operating in the area of Likoni since May,” Leting said.
He said that intelligence information showed that the three were planning to carry out attacks in areas of Likoni adding that they have been terrorizing people in areas of Bamburi, Kwale, Kisauni and Mazeras since May.
Leting said the police recovered an assortment of weapons including a G3 rifle, grenades, over 1,600 bullets and bomb making material.
Also recovered were 68 air rifle pellets, nine balaclavas, military/police uniforms, military holsters & porches, rifle oil, one GPS, six machetes and three knives.
The police said the terror suspects were planning several attacks in Mombasa including Mombasa International Airport.
A resident who was subjected to torture said he heard gunshots at 6 am and saw dozens of uniformed and plain cloths police officers at the scene.
“They arrested me, tied my hands, blinded me and began to question me while I lay on the ground,” he said on condition of anonymity.
Following the raid, several people were arrested and are being interrogated by police over connections with terror activities.
“We will scale up this operation to make sure we arrest more suspects,” Leting added.
The attack comes two days after police arrested wanted al-Shabab operative Fawaz Ahmed Hamdun in Mombasa.
The police said Hamdun has in the past facilitated radicalization and recruitment of youths in terror cells in Coast.
He is said to have helped hotel attack suicide bomber Mahir Riziki to sneak back to Kenya from Somalia before the Jan. 15 hotel attack that left 21 dead in Nairobi.
The coastal region, a major tourist spot was previously one of the various locations targeted by a series of grenade attacks and abduction of foreigners.
The coastal towns are the backbone of the country’s thriving tourism industry, which had in the recent past been hit by the fear of terror attacks and the kidnapping of foreigners by Somali pirates from resorts near the border with Somalia.