Is this Al Shabaab city bomb factory?
Terrorists are holed up making bombs in two flats and a warehouse in Eastleigh, police believe.
Incredibly one of the men, who had made the warehouse on First Avenue his home, was arrested but released in unclear circumstances the same day.
The two others, who live in the flats have also been picked up but are always released for lack of direct evidence.
The attack on Gikomba market was masterminded from the warehouse and two apartments in the estate’s Major Muriithi Street, said officers from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit.
Wanted over threat
One of the men suspected to have planned the Gikomba raid was arrested last Tuesday after being spotted with two men wanted for threatening to kill a Christian at Eastleigh Deliverance Church because he had converted from Islam after the Westgate terror attack.
But they added: “He was released the same day in circumstances we do not understand.”
Twelve people died and more than 70 others were injured after two bombs exploded at Gikomba, the city’s biggest open air market, last Friday.
The suspected terrorists are said to have moved to the two flats to dodge police during the recent Operation Usalama Watch crackdown on illegal immigrants.
Eastleigh was one of the estates targeted by security officers during the operation to flush out suspected terrorists and the immigrants.
Starehe police boss Barasa Wabomba confirmed that the two flats were not searched during the operation.
“Unlike residential houses where we went door to door, we only targeted certain business malls that we had prior information associating their owners with radicalism,” stated Mr Wabomba.
“Not all business premises were searched during the operation”.
A police officer who took part in the crackdown said: “We expected to be given reinforcements during Operation Usalama Watch, but that didn’t happen.
He went on: “These are dangerous people. We can’t just venture into the place during our normal patrols without sophisticated weapons and protective gear to face them.”
A former security guard at one of the flats said their occupants operated in a very discreet manner. He added they had been arrested several times but were always released for lack of evidence to link them to terrorism.
They never go the mosques, they conduct their prayers in the houses and do not allow anybody to venture inside,” said one neighbour.
He added: “They call us kafiris (infidels) because we don’t believe in jihad.”