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Three arrested for spying on British military base in Kenya

By East Africa correspondent , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) is interrogating three men for allegedly trying to break into a UK training base in Laikipia, 200 KM north of the capital Nairobi.

Police reports indicate that the unidentified men made several attempts to break into the heavily fortified military base, which is used as a training base.

More often than not, the British military trains in the base. Also, the UK army offers training to elite KDF troops as part of bilateral relations.

George Natembeya, the Rift Valley Regional Commissioner, said the three suspects "tried to force their way" but the attempts collapsed.

Suspects caught on CCTV cameras

“They tried to force their way there but they could not. So they were tracked down. They just had cameras I think but we are still interrogating them to find out the truth,” Natembeya said.

The three, he said, were tracked down after a tip-off from the British troops stationed at the base. They were captured on CCTV cameras.

According to Rift Valley police commander Marcus Ocholla, the suspects were not armed but had sinister motives.

“We cannot give more details at the moment but the issue is being handled by anti-terror unit,” Ocholla said.

Identity yet to be determined

Their identity is yet to be established but sources intimate that they are Kenyan nationals. Police will issue a statement after investigations.

But the three, Ocholla adds, will likely be interrogated of terrorism-related activities as the sleuths try to establish the motive behind the surveillance.

"We cannot rule out terrorism. Why would people try to gain entry to an international camp?" Posed the police boss.

After the surveillance, the three moved to the vicinity of Nanyuki police station where they were arrested by the security team before being booked, police said.

Officer Commanding Station, police said, acted immediately and booked in vide OB 35/5/1/2019. Investigations are ongoing.

Arrests come after Al-Shabaab attacks

Their arrest came hours after Al-Shabaab militants ran over a US Naval Base in Lamu, Kenya, killing three US citizens.

During the Sunday morning attack, the US confirmed, six aircraft and several vehicles used by her military were destroyed.

However, in a statement, the Al-Shabaab militants accused AFRICOM of "issuing incoherent response over the attack", adding that "The US suffered casualties".

Al-Shabaab insisted that 17 US Marine corps and nine Kenya Defense Forces troops were killed during the fight.

KDF, which closely works with the US and Britain, confirmed that five Al-Shabaab militants died during the attack. Their bodies were displayed.

Another suspect arrested in Nairobi

Interestingly, in Nairobi, another suspect was arrested on allegedly spying on Moi Air Base, which plays home to Kenya Air Force.

Philip Ndolo, the Nairobi police boss, told the media that the suspect was spotted by security forces outside the base taking photos.

“We are questioning him to find out what he was doing there,” Ndolo said without giving many details on the suspect's whereabouts.

Police reports indicate that the suspect is a Somali-Canadian. Moi Air Base is located at Eastleigh, a suburb associated with terrorists.

US-Iran squabbles

The incidents come at the time security forces are alert due to ongoing conflict between the United States and Iran over the murder of Gen Qassem Soleimani.

Iran has vowed "crushing revenge" on the US forcing Washington allies to keep vigil due to possible retaliatory attacks across the world.

But in a statement on Sunday, Al-Shabaab said: "the Camp Simba attack in Kenya has nothing to do with the US-Iran scuffle".

Kenya has paid dearly in the past, with the Al-Shabaab militants waging endless attacks especially at the coastal strip and Northern Frontier Districts (NFD).