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Police spox left with egg on face over lorry with ‘explosives, detonators’ drama

Police in Bomet have released a truck impounded last Friday with 1,750 kilograms of explosives and 50 detonators.

It was released after police confirmed that the cargo was not meant for terror related activities as earlier claimed by Police Spokesperson Charles Owino.

It was earlier feared that the chemicals were intended for use in a terror attack in Nairobi with police being put on alert.

But police now say the Mines and Geology department has confirmed and provided evidence showing the transporter had been licensed to transport the consignment from Nairobi to Kericho for use in a quarry.

POLICE OPERATION

On Friday night, 1,750 kilograms of ammonium nitrate and 50 detonators were nabbed by police during an operation conducted by officers from security agencies at Kyogong area along the Narok-Bomet highway.

The lorry of registration number KBT 779Y, belonging to Nitro Chemicals Company Limited was impounded during the operation, Bomet County Police commander Naomi Ichami had confirmed.

Police had suspected that the explosives were on transit from Western Kenya to Nairobi for terror related activities.

PHOTO | VITALIS KIMUTA

Soon after the lorry was impounded, Police Spokesman Charles Owino alleged security officers had foiled a number of attacks in various stages of plan and execution as a result of “intelligence information” gathered by various arms of government.

“Acting on information from members of the public to various arms of government, security officers have nipped in the bud planned attacks in the country. We have made a lot of progress in dealing with terror attacks,” Mr Owino had said.

“We are on track and Kenyans should not be worried with the cases. Security officers are vigilant and we urge Kenyans to continue volunteering information on the issues,” he stated.

He was flanked by County Commanders – Mrs Naomi Ichami (Bomet), Mr Aden Yunis (Narok) and James Mugera (Kericho) was speaking at Bomet University College during a meeting with sub county and ward commanders in the three counties.

ON TRANSIT

However, the transporting company availed a permit showing that it allowed to transport the ammonium nitrate and detonators that were on transit from Nairobi to Kericho for use in a quarry.

Bomet County Police Commander Mrs Naomi Ichami confirmed that the truck had been released after confirmation from the Mines and Geology department that it had given the owners a valid license and permit to transport the items.

PHOTO | VITALIS KIMUTA

“The owner of the truck has provided the necessary documentation allowing us to release the truck for the onward journey to the quarry located in Ainamoi area of Kericho County,” said Mrs Ichami who was flanked by the County Criminal Investigations Officer Mr Jacob Muli.

Following the verification of the documents, the driver of the lorry who had also been arrested has also been released from police custody, according to the county commander.

“The blasting explosives were intended for use by Crawler Rig Contractors at Gokul quarry in Kericho county,” said Mr Peter Karue speaking on behalf of the company shortly after the vehicle was released.

He said the vehicle registration number KBT 779Y was owned by Crawler Rig Contractors while the chemicals and the detonators were sourced from Nitro Chemicals in Nairobi.

“We have sorted the issues with the police and clear the air concerning its use. It was not meant for any criminal activities as the impression had earlier been created,” said Mr Karue.

TERROR SUSPECT

It came in the backdrop of an attempt by a terror suspect to access Narok stadium on June, 1, 2019 where President Uhuru Kenyatta led tens of thousands of Kenyans in a Madaraka day celebrations.

The suspect – Adan Galhai, alias Urisha Galhai, 22 – was arrested and handed over to the Anti-Terrorist Police Unit (ATPU).A day earlier; he had attempted to gain entry to the stadium with fake security identification and was arrested by officers from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).

However, he escaped from custody while undergoing interrogation, only to re-appear the following day as he mingled with members of the public who were trying to access the stadium.

Kenya has witnessed a number of terror attacks including the 1998 bombing of the United States of America embassy in Nairobi, the Westgate Mall attack, the Garissa University and the latest being the Dusit hotel attack..