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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Terror suspects held in Kenya

Nairobi - Kenyan authorities have arrested three men with alleged links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks in the east African nation, a senior police official said on Monday.

The trio - a Sudanese national and two Kenyans - were detained on Saturday in northeast Kenya near the border with lawless Somalia and transferred to Nairobi for questioning by anti-terrorism police, the official said.

"We are holding one Sudanese and two Kenyans on suspicion of involvement in terrorism activities," the official said, suggesting that Kenya may have been tipped to the threesome's alleged activity by foreign intelligence.

"We got a hint from sources I cannot disclose now of their involvement in terrorism activities and links to bin Laden," the official said on condition of anonymity. "The investigation is continuing."

Police took them into custody as they were travelling along a normally unpatrolled road in Kenya's north-eastern Tana River district, the official said.

"The route ... is not manned by police and it appears that's why they were using it," the official said.

Kenyan authorities believe that the route has been used by terrorists in the past, notably to transport bombs and other weapons from Somalia to Kenya for the deadly attacks on Israeli interests in the port town of Mombasa.

Eighteen people, including 12 Kenyans and three Israelis, were killed on November 28, 2002 in a suicide car bombing at the Israeli-owned Mombasa Paradise hotel.

The bombers were also killed in the attack which is believed to have been carried out by al-Qaeda affiliates.

On the same day, there was a failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli passenger jet with a shoulder-fired missile as it took off from Mombasa's international airport.

Al-Qaeda has also been fingered in the twin 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people, as well as in a more recent plot to attack the new US embassy in Nairobi.

Three suspects now on trial for involvement in the Mombasa attacks are also accused in the embassy bombings.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

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