How police helped Al Shabaab smuggle their arsenal

Chief of staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua said explosives would have caused serious damage if vehicle had not been intercepted. (Photo:File/Standard)

Al Shabaab terrorists bribed Kenyan police officers who helped them smuggle explosives into Kenya last year, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua has revealed.

He said that after being bribed, the police at the Kenya-Somalia border, handcuffed the terrorists and escorted them all the way to Mombasa. This helped the terrorists, who were now suspects by the virtue of being under police guard, to evade further scrutiny at various roadblocks.

And after they arrived in Mombasa, Mr Kinyua said the terrorists were unchained and let free to go ahead with their mission.

Kinyua, however, said it was unlikely the officers knew the terrorists' car had explosives.

"Imagine the kind of damage they could have caused if they were not arrested later?" posed Kinyua.

Police who intercepted the vehicle bearing the explosives in March last year found six grenades, an AK-47 assault rifle, 270 bullets, six cylindrical bombs weighing 10kg each, five magazines, six detonators, a Nokia cell phone and six electronic cables.

The in-built improvised explosive devices were welded to the floor and back seat of the vehicle. "We later established who they were and punished them. Remember the explosives caused a crater when they were detonated."

Kinyua was speaking during the launch of an exercise that is aimed at reviewing systems, policies and procedures at ports of entry into the country.

The 30-day exercise will be undertaken by officials from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Kenya Airports Authority and Kenya Ports Authority.

The exercise was launched after it emerged that most of the entry points were to blame for insecurity, including terrorism, in Kenya.

EACC Chairman Mumo Matemu said the objective of the preventive strategy is to promote and sustain good governance in public institutions.

"It is intended to help us identify corruption loopholes in the systems, policies, procedures and practices in selected ports of entry. What we find there will be used in other areas," he said.

He said that Kenya had experienced catastrophic consequences as a result of lax systems at borders and other entry points and noted that inefficiency and corrupt practices in these areas will continue to leave Kenyans vulnerable.

Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli promised to implement the recommendations of the report which will be launched next month.

"Corruption in the transport corridor at large is badly affecting Kenya," noted Muli.