'BOMB SUSPECTS WORK WITH IRAN INTELLIGENCE'
THE two Iranian men being tried for possession of explosives allegedly came to Kenya as intermediaries. They arrived as tourists on June 12 and were arrested on June 19 on Uhuru Highway as they were driving to the airport. Sayed Mansour Mousavi, 50 years, and Ahmad Abolfathhi Mohammed, 49 years, have reportedly told the Anti Terrorism Police that they were sent by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IGRC) to receive the consignment at Mombasa port on June 14.
However the ATPU believes that the two are both intelligence officers holding the rank of colonel. Yesterday, their lawyer David Kirimi told a Nairobi court that the two men are civil servants in Iran. The two individuals were denied bail by magistrate Paul Biwott at Milimani law court. Their bail application will be determined on July 16. The bomb making explosive called Cyclotrimethylene Trinitramine (RDX) arrived in Kenya on board MV Padriz.
More than 100kg was delivered by an Iranian man believed to be a security officer working on the ship but police only managed to recover 15kg. RDX has been widely used by terrorists in India, Russia and elsewhere. The two men entered Kenya as tourists and were supposed to receive the explosive from the contact on MV Padriz. They were then supposed to deliver it to the Mombasa Club golf course where another contact would collect it and take it to an unknown destination.
The suspects told Anti Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) that the chemicals were sent by a man called Madavi who works for the IGRC in Iran. The tourist visa of the two men was due to expire on June 26 but they were arrested on June 19, five days after MV Padriz docked in Mombasa. Mohammed traveled on passport V20192677 while Mousavi traveled using passport V23950958. Mousavi had reportedly worked as a diplomat in Iranian embassies in the Middle East until 2007.
Mohammed told the police that he was simply a friend of Mousavi and had known him for 20 years. He told police that he is a farmer who specialized in poultry farming and runs a hardware shop in Tehran, the Iranian capital. They checked into Nairobi's Laico Regency hotel on arrival from Mombasa on June 16. They checked out on June 19 and were heading to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when they they were arrested on Uhuru Highway near Nyayo House.
In a misunderstanding, an eyewitness reported to Central Police Station that some foreigners had been kidnapped. According to reliable sources, the registration number of the anti terrorism police vehicle was quickly circulated to all stations and police cars scrambled to intercept them. According to sources, the ATPU quickly informed their colleagues that it was a police operation..
Mousavi had apparently traveled to Iraq and Thailand. He told investigators that he was on official duties. According to his passport, he traveled to Iraq between August 21 and 26, 2010. He travelled to Thailand between December 27, 2010 and March 26, 2011 on a tourist visa. The manifest of MV Padriz apparently confirmed that six security officers and another nine crew were on board. She was carrying about 200 containers.
Police had received intelligence reports that a ship with explosives would dock in Mombasa port. With the help of foreign experts, ATPU officers on June 20 impounded a suspect container in Changamwe at a warehouse. Police recovered fake Somali passports. Coast PPO Aggrey Adoli told the Star that police will now be conducting random inspections of containers at the port. ATPU Deputy Commandant John Mulaulo yesterday declined to comment on the investigations.
Anti-terrorism police are now looking for four Kenyans in Mombasa believed to have been in contact with the two Iranians. In Bungoma yesterday Iranian ambassador Malek Hossein Givzad said yesterday that his government opposes terrorism. "While being a victim of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran will walk shoulder to shoulder with Kenya in fighting terrorism globally,” he said.
Givzad spoke at Kibichori School during the official opening of a multi-purpose hall and tuition block constructed with funding from his government. Yesterday Mohammad and Mansour were again denied bail. They argued that the charges they are facing are bailable. Their lawyers Kiraithe Wandugi and David Kirimi said that bail is a constitutional right and it cannot be denied unless there are compelling reasons.
Investigating officer Erick Opagal argued that they might abscond because they had no fixed abode. It was stated that the ATPU had information of an imminent terrorist attack being planned by the two Iranians with others yet to be arrested. “We have information that the two suspects have a vast network in the country meant to execute explosive attacks against government installations, public gatherings and foreign establishments,” Opagal said.