Police identify slain soldier in Nyali barracks, Mombasa raid

Senior officers from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) military police were yesterday dispatched from Nairobi to piece together the circumstances under which raiders attacked Nyali barracks in Mombasa.

This comes as authorities identified the soldier killed in Sunday's unprecedented raid.

The Standard has learnt that the slain soldier was a senior private called George Hongo while sources say investigators believe the raid on Nyali barracks and an Administration Police camp in Malindi were co-ordinated terrorist attacks.

In the Malindi case, about 15 attackers arrived when officers were fast asleep. An officer who had woken up early to bathe raised an alarm.

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Mombasa police boss Robert Kitur said yesterday no family had come forward to claim the bodies of the six attackers taken to the Coast General Hospital mortuary in Mombasa County, adding that "so far we do not know these people because they had no identification papers on them".

Kitur said detectives lifted fingerprints from the corpses yesterday and expect to establish their true identities from the National Registration Bureau "if at all they have ever acquired IDs from Kenya".

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A military intelligence official disclosed that "we do not think it was the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC)", adding that the culprits could be "a new group more trained and extremist than Al-Shabaab", without elaborating.

Yesterday, The Standard learnt some claims made by police were false, including allegations that the assailants had no identification documents on them.

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A detective close to the ongoing probe told The Standard that some of the slain attackers actually had IDs on them but they were not sure whether they were authentic.

An ID found on the body of one of the attackers had the name Godana and indicated he was from Tana River District.

On Sunday, Navy Commandant Ngewa Mkalla also visited the barracks on behalf of Chief of the Defence Forces Julius Karangi and Kenya Army Commander Lt Gen Joseph Kasaon who had accompanied the President to Turkana.

The Standard established that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) joined the investigation yesterday.

"One of the youths we killed had an identification which indicated that his name was Godana and he hails from Tana River County," said a military source yesterday.

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The sources further indicated that part of the probe will be to establish whether there was any laxity on the side of the officers who were on guard, despite praises from residents over the swift response from the soldiers.

Reports from our sources in the army, who requested anonymity because they are not allowed to speak to the Press, said the youths were aged between 28 and 35 years.

They say the youths may have planned to gain access into the camp to take over the armoury and either conduct mass murder in the facility or stage a standoff similar to last year's at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.

"Investigation is now being carried out by the NIS and the anti-crime unit.

"We think they will carry out the fingerprints to ascertain the true identity of the attackers because they could have even carried forged IDs," said the source.

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NORMAL OPERATIONS

Operations at the 17 battalion Kenya Army camp continued as usual yesterday though the soldiers we spoke to said they were more cautious than in the past.

Security in Mombasa has been heightened with roadblocks erected in strategic points following the Sunday dawn attack at the barracks, sparking fears over the audacity of the gang which police and military sources have refused to link to the secessionist MRC.

On Sunday, County Commissioner Nelson Marwa appeared to link the attack to radical Islamist youths in the region that were behind a wave of takeovers of mosques from moderate clerics.

A spot check at Nyali Police Station in Mombasa found that the officers were still in darkness over who the attackers were because military officers had claimed they did not find them with any identification.

"We have not identified these bodies. The officers investigating the matter have taken their fingerprints to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) building in Nairobi to determine who they are," said a police source.

Kenya Defence Forces Nyali barracks Mombasa County