A senior counter-terrorism official has recounted how the terrorists planned to stage simultaneous attacks at the Hotel InterContinental, the Kencom Bus Stage and the adjacent Hilton Hotel. Mrs Clinton stayed at the Hotel InterContinental during her visit.
he plan was hatched in Somalia and thwarted by Kenyan security officials who intercepted communication between the plotters and their accomplices in Nairobi.The security official – whose identity cannot be revealed without compromising antiterrorism operations – said that the terrorists linked to the Al Shabaab group had wanted to embarrass Kenyan and US governments but their plans were thwarted before the attackers could cross the border.“The threats were neutralised a week to the Agoa meeting in combined efforts by the military and other security agencies,” the official said. “The operation in Nairobi netted five crucial suspects, one of whom carries Danish identification documents but is believed to be a Somali national. The other four, one of whom is a woman, hold Kenyan identification documents believed to be fake. Investigations into their identity and plan are on.”The official added: “While in the past the real target of the attacks has been Western interests, the Al Qaeda leadership has since made Kenya a new target. So serious is the threat that during the Agoa meeting, the Al Qaeda intended to strike at the heart of Nairobi during the rush hours.”
According to the security official, the masterminds of the attack were in contact with Mr Saleh Nabhan, one of the most wanted men by the FBI, and whose personal assistant, a man identified as Anas, is believed to have been coordinating the plan.Mrs Clinton was in Nairobi in August to officiate at trade talks between her government and African countries courtesy of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, an American law that seeks to promote trade between the US and Africa. While in Nairobi, Mrs Clinton and her entourage were booked at Hotel InterContinetal. She arrived in the country on August 4 and left on August 7.To reassure themselves, Kenyan security officials detailed officers from the elite presidential guard to her entourage. The streets around the hotel and those adjacent to the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, the venue of the meeting, had been closed to normal traffic as part of the security measures.The information about the threat and what Kenyan security officials did to stop the deadly plans was shared with US security officials and has also been captured in a security dossier prepared for circulation in top security echelons.The presence of Al Shabaab operatives in the country, the Sunday Nation learnt, is facilitated by helpers living mainly in Mombasa and Nairobi’s Eastleigh, South B, South C and Komarock estates.Last month, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Defence minister Yusuf Haji and Internal Security minister George Saitoti launched a public education programme in which political and religious leaders teamed up to discourage young men from North Eastern Province from recruiting into Al Shabaab. Next Page »