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Major security operation at Mombasa port as ship suspected to be carrying drugs intercepted

COAST
By Cyrus Ombati | September 18th 2015

Mombasa, Kenya: There was a major security operation at the Kilindini Port in Mombasa Thursday night when security personnel ordered a lockdown while looking for drugs.

All workers on duty were asked to leave before the officers sealed off a ship that had arrived amid reports it was carrying a haul of narcotic drugs. The operation, which involved personnel from Kenya Defence Forces, General Service Unit, Administration Police and regular police, went on until Friday morning.

KDF left the area Friday morning leaving the GSU personnel to continue manning the ship until officials board it for inspection and verification.

The operation caused panic at the port as security guards were ordered to leave.

Coast police commander Francis Wanjohi said they will inform the public what they will find after verification.

“It was a precautionary measure that was taken. We have security officials manning the area waiting verification and we will inform the public the way forward after inspection,” said Wanjohi.

Wanjohi said the security personnel were acting on a tip off that there were drugs and other dangerous ‘things’ on the ship.

“We had to wait until it arrived then moved in. The area is calm for now but verification will take time,” he said.

Last year, Kenya destroyed a ship laden with heroin valued at Sh1.3 billion.

The vessel, MV Al Noor, was impounded last June. Mombasa has been cited in many security reports as a transit point for drugs headed to Asia and Europe.

Some of the drug lords have turned the Coast region into a drug haven, leaving thousands of young people addicted to heroin and cocaine.

President Uhuru Kenyatta supervised the blowing up of the ship and its contents aboard a military helicopter.

The vessel was destroyed 33 kilometers from the Mombasa Port and sunk to a depth of 329 metres with 370.8kg of heroin. The initial cargo was 373.8kg, but three kilos were taken to the government chemist for further analysis.

The ship owners protested the action saying the property had been destroyed illegally.

The ship was impounded with bags of cement but upon investigation, a haul of drugs was found stashed in fuel tanks.

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