Police say they have frustrated a potentially overwhelming terror plot linked to the Islamic State (IS) group, planned to hit Nairobi, and the coastal city of Mombasa.
In the raid, two people were arrested and police also seized bows, poisoned arrows, along with material normally used for home-made bombs.
The arrested youth had been plotting to carry out several “retaliatory attacks” to pay back for the arrest of the leader of an IS-linked cell which had been planning a biological attack using anthrax earlier this month, police said.
Inspector General Joseph Boinnet said in a statement that the suspects were planning large-scale terror attacks akin to the Westgate Mall attack, with the intention of killing innocent Kenyans. And it was aimed at various targets in Kenya.
Kenya police added that the two suspects were radicalized at a mosque in a slum in the capital, Nairobi.
Kiguzo Mwangolo Mgutu and Abubakar Jillo Mohammed had intended to escape to Libya or Syria after carrying out the attacks, police added.
They were radicalized by leader Mohamed Abdi Ali, a medical student, who was arrested earlier this month along with two others for reportedly plotting an anthrax attack. They have not yet been charged.
Mohamed Abdi Ali heads an unconfirmed East African terror network with links to ISIS. He was interning at a Kenyan hospital, when he was arrested with the others — Ali’s wife and her friend — who are now in custody in Uganda. Ali was arrested earlier this month.
Following Mohamed Abdi Ali’s arrest, members of his network have been planning retaliatory attacks using home-made explosives.
Police say they were the interns’ terror network contacts spread from Kenya to Somalia, Libya and Syria.
Police Spokesman George Kinoti revealed Ali led them to the two, after he was taken into custody.
The arrest of the two has foiled terror attacks with explosives and other weapons that were planned for Nairobi and Mombasa, Kinoti said in a statement.
Kenya has for long now been a target for Islamist terrorist’s attacks, with hundreds of Kenyans killed in attacks carried out by Somalia-based terror group al-Shabaab.
Though the two suspects are said to have been IS recruits, Somalia-based Al-Shabaab, an Al Qaeda linked militant group, has also been fighting tooth and nail to lure young Kenyans into becoming its fighters.
The group has recorded success in conning many of young Kenyan men and students into becoming its fighters.
A Special Correspondent Nick Schifrin via the help of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, met up with three of Al Shabaab’s Kenyan recruits, and came up with a report that gives insight into why young men join the group.
The reports shows the terror group find willing recruits on the edge of Nairobi, in the Pumwani slum.
Kenyan forces started battling Al- Shabaab since 2011 to fight the al-Qaeda-linked militants. On March 20, KDF slaughtered 34 al Shabaab militants in two different fights in Somalia but lost two soldiers in an ambush.