Three Somali nationals have been arrested in connection with Sunday’s attack at a police station in Mombasa. Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet yesterday said the three were suspected to be accomplices of the three women gunned down during the attack.
The suspects, two women and a man, were nabbed inside the house of one of the women attackers, Tasnim Yakub, at Kibokoni where police staged a raid hours after the attack. Those arrested on Sunday were identified as Saeda Haji, Naema Nahamed and Shukri Ali Haji.
The identity of the fourth suspect has not been made public. The three female terrorists killed by police following attack at the Central Police Station in Mombasa on Sunday were Somali refugees living in Kenya.
Two of the assailants gunned down by police were sisters who lived with their parents at Majengo area of Mombasa while Yakub , lived in Kibokoni, Old Town. One of the sisters was identified as Fatuma Omar while the third was identified as Mariam Omar.
However, detectives who visited their home yesterday said the two were using pseudo names. The attackers had been recruited to join ISIS through the Internet and had been hooked up with linkmen in Mombasa, awaiting travel to Libya for training.
“These women are part of an active ISIS cell operating in the country. Most of the members are young and educated individuals, whom we are still profiling,” said the police source. Detectives said the suspects went to Qubaa High School in Majengo and Coast Girls’ High School next to Central Police Station, where the attack occurred.
Yakub was in the process of acquiring Kenyan identity. The detectives said the attackers were on active terror monitoring. Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa said the attackers wore bulletproof jackets. The daring raid at the police station was ostensibly timed to coincide with the anniversary of America’s September 11 attacks.
The suspects are reported to have sworn allegiance to the Al Shabaab and ISIS before staging the raid. Security apparatus warned that the groups were planning more attacks in the country.
A witness, Salma Mohammed, said the three women, clad in buibui, walked up to the counter and told officers manning the report office they had come to record a statement over the theft of a mobile phone in a matatu. Upon questioning over the alleged robbery incident, one of the suspects jumped over the counter and started stabbing the officers using a knife.
In the ensuing melee, one of them hurled a petrol bomb, which extensively damaged the front door office. It was at this juncture that the eyewitness screamed, attracting the attention of other officers who responded promptly, shooting dead the suspects.
The suspects shouted pro-Al-Shabaab slogans as they went down in a hail of bullets. Mombasa county police commander Peterson Maelo told journalists that two police officers were injured and hospitalised following the 10.30am incident. Bomb experts spent hours trying to clear the area of explosives.