Police gun down terror suspects in Mombasa night attack

By Linah Benyawa, Philip Mwakio and Stanley Mwahanga

Mombasa, Kenya:  Police in Mombasa on Monday killed suspected terrorist masterminds Kassim Omolo and Salim Mohamed Nyiro linked to Al Shabaab and a slain Al Qaeda leader wanted over the August 7, 1998 bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

By the time of going to press, the entire Kisauni estate, where the killings took place nine hours apart were still under lockdown by what are believed to be special forces from the Kenya Defence Forces working in concert with Anti-Terror Police unit. The forces were pursuing a third suspect in the area.

Kassim was described as an expert bomb maker trained with Al Qaeda allied terrorists in Somalia as well as a past accomplice of slain Al Qaeda leader Fazul Abdullah Mohamed who was killed in Mogadishu on June 11, 2011, exactly two years ago.

Kisauni Deputy OCPD Thomas Sanguti described Kassim as “one of the most wanted terrorists” and added that Salim was killed as he “ran towards his bedroom for his gun” indicating the suspect tried to kill security men.

Security officials claimed they had received crucial intelligence from a Kenyan terrorist fugitive living in Somalia and the trove of documents recovered from Kassim early Monday.

Swaleh Abdulmajid, the son-in-law of slain radical Islamist Sheikh Aboud Rogo and Ali Kassim Omondi had openly reported that they feared for their lives. Ali Kassim Omondi claimed that police sent out an alert in the morning claiming he had been killed in Kisauni over terror activities.

Aboud Rogo ally

Also fearing for his life was the late Rogo’s co suspect Abubakar Shariff alias Makaburi who early this year claimed a hit squad had been hired to execute him. Outgoing Coast PPO Aggrey Adoli however, said then that police where looking for him to record a statement and not to ‘execute him’.

Regarding Kassim’s killing, Sanguti said an elite police squad that has been tracking the suspected terrorist for the last four days managed to subdue him at his home after a brief resistance and fire exchange but his children claimed their father was seized by men who raided their house, trussed him up and shot him dead in cold blood.

Meanwhile, Anti-Terrorism police have seized Kassim’s unidentified wife and locked her at an undisclosed location and also displayed an arsenal of weapons they claimed the deceased had kept in his house.

“We managed to gun down Omolo who was one of the most wanted terrorists police have been looking for, and recovered a cache of firearms, ammunition, subversive literature, explosive making devices, a digital video disc and mobile phones,” Sanguti told The Standard at the Kisauni Police Dog Unit station on Monday.

He said police had received information that Omolo was a trained bomb expert and one of the top ranked Al Shabaab commanders living in Kenya.

The officer added that information had been received that Omolo was also an accomplice of the late Fazul Abdullah Mohammed who had a $5 million price bounty on his head placed by the US government.

Outgoing Coast PPO Aggrey Adoli described the deceased as “a dangerous criminal” and alleged that he refused to surrender and instead fired ten times at police.

“Because it was at night, our officers managed to get him using night vision,” said Adoli, who suggested that the suspect was felled, partly for lack of inadequate vision. According to Adoli, Kassim was firing an AK-47 rifle when he was killed.

“We rarely saw him as he was not always around and has only been here for two months with his family,” a neighbour speaking on condition of anonymity said.

The five story flat in Mlaleo Magorofani in Mombasa’s Kisauni estate, where Omolo lived with his wife and their four children, all girls aged 11, 10, 5 and two bore gunshot marks signifying a fire fight before Kassim was felled.

Cold blood murder

Blood stains covered the staircases leading to his two bedrooms, which appeared to have been turned upside down as police searched the premises for terror clues.

The eldest of Kassim’s children who identified herself as Aisha said that men stormed their residence while they were asleep and forcefully tied up their dad while ordering him to give up what he possessed.

“Dad begged them to spare his life but they went ahead and killed him,’’ Aisha told The Standard at the family home.

Local priest Bishop Alfred Obuya of the Gospel Believers Churches said he was woken by loud bangs thinking armed robbers had invaded the estate but was ordered back into his house by armed policemen.

Adoli said that Kassim’s wife and another person they had found at the slain terrorist’s police leaving children with neighbours was holding home.

Kassim’s body was moved to Coast Provincial General Hospital mortuary.

Sangut said that police killed the other suspect Salim as he tried to reach for an AK-47 rifle after being ordered to surrender and described the deceased as a terrorist.

“His name is Salim Mohamed Nyiro alias Mwangazi alias Abdullahi. When we entered his house he ran towards his bedroom for his gun,” said Sangut who disclosed that the deceased was gunned down after refusing to surrender and threatening the lives of police officers.

He said information seized from Kassim and informers led police to Salim amid reports that the two deceased had recently visited Somalia.