Kenya Puts Airports on High Security Alert
Kenya put two major airports on high-security alert on Monday after reports emerged of planned attacks by Al-Shabaab.
Nairobi and Mombasa airports have been singled out as targets for the Islamist militant group and the government has stepped up surveillance at both facilities, according to leaked documents.
Concerns over Shabaab plane attacks
Talk of attacks on Kenyan airports has circulated after a bomb was successfully carried on a passenger jet in Somalia last month. The device reportedly made it through X-ray machines at Mogadishu airport, although it hasn’t yet been confirmed what machines were being used at the Somali airport.
The Mogadishu attack is believed to have been orchestrated by Al-Shabaab and, although the only fatality was the man suspected of carrying the bomb aboard the flight, it raises fresh concerns over attacks on passenger jets. The device used in the plane attack is more advanced than anything used in previous Al-Shabaab plots. And authorities have said the aircraft would have disintegrated, killing everyone on board, if the craft had been at cruising altitude when the bomb detonated.
No ‘imminent threat’ at Kenyan airports
Despite growing concerns of plane attacks in Kenyan, authorities in the country insist there is no immediate threat to its airports or passengers.
“We therefore wish to assure our citizens and all airport users that KAA airports and designated airstrips are not under any imminent threat. I want to report that normal operations are ongoing,” said Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) acting managing director, Yatich Kangugo.
However, KKA head of security, Eric Kiraithe, did confirm that a group of militants have been trained for airborne attacks within Somalia and that domestic flights in Kenya are a potential target.
“The attacks mainly target domestic flights and operatives posing as passengers intend to blow themselves up during landing. Consequently a team of eleven suicide bombers have undergone training within Somalia on airborne suicide missions in readiness for the attacks,” he said.
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