Nairobi News

General

Heed security warning and screen passengers

Intelligence is warning that terrorists are planning to attack residents caught up in traffic during rush hours.

The dossier, said to be highly credible, warns that the terrorists plan to target the usually crowded matatu and bus termini. They could also attack vehicles stuck in Nairobi’s notorious early morning and evening traffic jams.

The warning comes hot on the heels of the Sunday afternoon twin attacks on two buses on Thika Road.

Preliminary investigations into the attacks lend the intelligence warnings a lot of credence.

According to the investigations, the terrorists appear to have planted the bombs in the two buses. They never boarded the buses, instead choosing to trail them before detonating them on the busy road.

Already, the crew of the two buses have been charged in court with negligence and failure to prevent the two attacks, resulting in the deaths of two people and injuries to more than 50 others.

Admittedly, owners and crews of commuter vehicles have treated the safety of their passengers rather too casually.

A spot check at the main bus termini in the city – Ambassadeur, Kencom, GPO, Ronald Ngala Street, OTC and the Railway Station – reveals shocking cases of negligence on the part of the crew.

Virtually no security checks on passengers boarding the vehicles, and in the few instances where screening was conducted, the exercise was limited to the passengers, not their luggage.

Yet it is not enough to screen passengers at the point of boarding.

We have had cases in the past where matatu crews, either carelessly or deliberately, have allowed passengers to board along the way without screening.

Several carjackings have been attributed to passengers who board buses and matatus along the journey.

Security experts have always warned against picking passengers on the way, who are never screened because the crews never carry metal detectors with them.

It is imperative that the security agencies and the crews of commuter vehicles take the intelligence warning seriously by thoroughly screening their passengers and the luggage they carry.

The public too must play its part by raising the alarm whenever they come across any suspicious characters.

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