Coast police tracking 'suppliers of dangerous devices'

Terror cells are using fishing as a cover business to traffic "dangerous devices", Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa has said.

Mr Marwa did not indicate what kind of devices were being transported by businessmen who have interests in the fish industry. Speaking during a security media briefing at his office Monday, Marwa said intelligence reports indicated that two fish dealers were sneaking in weapons from Lamu by concealing the weapons under layers of fish.

"We have intelligence that two businessmen, whose names we cannot reveal because of ongoing investigations, are using the fish transport business to sneak in devices that threaten the lives of residents," he said.

Marwa said the police were tracking the two who he termed the "suppliers of dangerous devices" to Majengo and Old Town. The two areas have in the past been hit by gun attacks blamed on radicalised youths.

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"We have intelligence that the two businessmen are using the guise of fish business to sneak in 'devices' that threaten the life of the residents," said Marwa.

Marwa, who declined to state the exact nature of the weapons being trafficked and the frequency, said intelligence reports indicated that vehicles belonging to the two businessmen plied the Old Town-Majengo route, where they deliver weapons to Al Shabaab operatives.

He said intelligence showed that the businessmen had strategically chosen the two areas because they fish industry there was thriving and terror operatives have bases there.

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Marwa, who at one time during the briefing had threatened to name the businessmen but later declined, called on the police manning roadblocks along the Mombasa-Malindi highway to subject vehicles entering or leaving the county to thorough checks to ensure vehicles were not used to sneak in dangerous weapons.

"While we encourage people to engage in legal business, we will not allow people to engage in trade that endangers the lives of residents. If you are a businessman licensed to do fish business just keep to that. We'll not allow people to use the guise of fish or any other business to transport illegal cargo," said Marwa.

Meanwhile, the county commissioner has warned public service vehicle operators to be on the lookout for drug peddlers using passenger buses to bring in drugs from neighbouring countries. He said drug peddlers were sending their consignments as parcels.

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