Tension gripped Majengo areas of Mombasa city yesterday after the police gunned down two suspected terrorists. The two Omar Faraj, 30, and Titus Nabiswa, 27, a Muslim convert from Western Kenya, died on the spot after a shoot-out.
Coast deputy CID boss John Gachomo confirmed the incident and said the government will not relent on the war against terror. Police recovered two grenades in the Sunday 2am operation at Mwembe Tanganyika in Majengo areas.
Nabiswa was arrested in Mariakani on Saturday afternoon on his way to Mombasa from Nairobi. He led Anti-Terror Police officers to Mtwapa and Majengo, where the shoot-out occurred.
“We intercepted a bus called Mesina at Mariakani after getting information that the suspect was in that vehicle. He then led us to Mtwapa and Majengo. We arrested two suspects are now in police custody,” said Gachomo.
He said police officers met resistance in Majengo where Omar was shot by police officers. Nabiswa was shot in the gun crossfire. “The house was locked from inside. Police had to force their way into the house. No police was injured in the gun fight. I call for calm as police are in control,” Gachomo said. He said four suspects escaped with wounds.
Faraj was buried yesterday at Marembo cemetery at Kikowani in Mombasa. Police said a hand grenade, a pistol with a target pin attached on it, a silencer, pistol magazine, 37 rounds of ammunition, a mask and Global Positioning System (GPS) gadget were recovered from Nabiswa.
A senior police officer told the Star that the suspects had planned an attack on senior government officials in Mombasa. Nabiswa is said to be a trained sniper.
The parabelium pistol is also known for assassination and easy targets from a distance. Gachomo appealed to the public and any hospital to reveal injured people saying that they may be some of the suspects that escaped with the wounds.
The suspects’ bodies were taken to Coast General hospital for a post-mortem. CPGH was a bee hive of activities as leaders and the public, mostly them drawn from the Muslim community thronged the hospital mortuary to console the family.
The Muslim leaders and relatives who spoke to the press condemned the incident and gave a one-week ultimatum for the government to unearth the death of one of their own or they will resort to street protests to condemn the killings.
Forum for Muslim Unity interim chairman Salim Jaffer Salim said that the Muslim community will not take lightly the manner in which police were dealing with the suspects.
“Those who killed him are the terrorists in the first place. We celebrate death and we are ready to be eliminated by police if that is the case. We condemn this,” said Salim.
Saad Faraj Ahmed, a bother to the late Omar Faraj said: “My brother has never been a terrorist. I know him as a clean man. The government should just tell us the intension of killing my brother. We need to talk to government or else things will be bad.”
Likoni MP Masoud Mwahima who was present also demanded a full disclosure of the reasons behind the killing and accused the government of inciting the public.
“We are tired with this. The government wants to cause havoc in Mombasa. We give them a one week ultimatum to tell us what happened,” said Mwahima.
Mvita parliamentary aspirant Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir said: “The government should be ready to carry the blame if something bad happened in Mombasa.”
“It’s the police who pulled the trigger and they should be taken to court and charged,” said Nassir. Other leaders blamed it on the enactment of the new terrorism law and gave their reservations about the bill.
Mombasa deputy mayor John Mcharo said, “We blame this on the Terrorism bill and that is why it was opposed in its early stages.” This comes after the enactment of enactment of Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012 that had earlier on received opposition from members of the Muslim community.
Meanwhile, head of anti terrorism police unit Njeru Mwaniki said the suspect was trailed by detectives from special crime prevention unit after boarding the bus from the Nairobi to Mombasa on Saturday morning.
Mwaniki announced that security forces had increased surveillance and urged the public to be on the lookout for people with ulterior motives.
Police say the suspect and his accomplices were planning to carry out an imminent terror attack in the in Mombasa that has in the past hit by a wave of grenade attacks.
“This is major breakthrough in the war on terror but have heightened of surveillance with reports of planned terror attacks since the liberation of Somalia port of Kismayu by Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF),” said Mwaniki.
He told star that hundreds of Kenyan youths and foreigners who had joined the rat tag Alshabaab terror group have sneaked into the country to carryout sporadic attacks in public places and churches in Mombasa and Nairobi cities.
“We have details and pictures of some of Kenyans who joined Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militant group and have been linked to a number of terror activities we have circulated their details,” said Mwaniki.