Terrorists behind the 2002 attack at the Paradise Hotel in Mombasa had equipment and materials for printing fake Kenya national identity cards, a UN report has revealed.
Fifteen people — 12 of them Kenyans — died during the November 28, 2002 attack on the Israeli-owned hotel in Kikambala.
The ‘Digest of Terrorist Cases’ report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says the terrorists used the fake documents to rent an apartment where a cache of arms was found.
Among the weapons found concealed in a sofa set were six automatic guns, magazines, bullets and five anti-tank missiles. Also seized were a saw, hammer and pliers, a hand grenade, training materials and manuals on the use of the weapons.
“A laminating machine and materials suitable for making identity cards were also found,” the report says.
The revelations raise fears that foreigners have found their way into the country with fake identification documents.
In February, the government mounted a countrywide crackdown on illegal immigrants following reports that foreigners acquire Kenyan citizenship through an intricate syndicate involving government officials.
The operation, which was spearheaded by regular and Administration Police, was however, called off following an uproar from Kenyan Somalis who said it amounted to ethnic profiling and discrimination.
North Eastern PC James ole Seriani recently cautioned local administrators that they face the sack following reports that some of them were involved in the syndicate.
The report recommends measures that need to be put in place by governments around the world in the fight against terrorism. They include sealing legal loopholes that have seen many terror suspects evade conviction.
Governments around the world have also been asked to use the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism to bring offenders to justice.
The United Nations Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1373 require all member states to freeze the funds of designated persons and of terrorists generally.
The report adds that countries should use collateral offences committed by terrorists, particularly weapons offences and frauds, to trace terrorist movements and activities.
Governments have also been asked to use Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database to report stolen passports to make it easy to trace them.
As of June 2009 the database contained information on over 18 million documents, over 10 million of which were passports, from approximately 150 countries.
The latest developments come at a time when both local and international security agencies are on high alert after recent discovery of an arms cache in the sea off Malindi and the attack against a village in Wajir by the Somali militia Al-Shabaab, which is linked to the al Qaeda terror group.
Last week, a Malindi fisherman chanced upon a cache of arms, triggering a major security operation in the coastal town.
The weapons packed in sacks, included 436 bullets, four rockets, one rocket launcher, five AK-47 rifles, one Ceska pistol, 10 gun holsters, 18 magazines and four para lights used for illuminating a security operation zone at night.
Malindi deputy police boss Willy Simba said officers were exploring a theory that the find is linked to five suspected pirates arrested in Kenyan waters at the local Marine Park.
The discovery of the arms was followed by the arrest of two men in Diani, Kwale District, over allegations of recruiting and training Kenyan youth for militant groups outside the country.
The men were arrested during an operation by anti-terrorism police at Maganyakulo Village, where detectives found a jihad (holy war) training manual, several national identity cards and a list of names of people believed to have undergone training.
The list had names against the ID card numbers and signatures of their owners. Police suspect those appearing on the list had been smuggled out of the country after the training.
The report says terrorists are moving from one country to another either using fake passports or by evading immigration checks.
Terror mastermind Fazul Mohammed, blamed for both the 1998 US bombing in Nairobi and the 2002 Paradise hotel attack in Kikambala, is said to be an expert in using fake passports. In the recent past, 20,000 passports have been stolen from three countries only.
Key suspects in the Kikambala attack remain Fazul, who is from Comoros, and Abu Taha al-Sudan a Sudanese national. Another suspect Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Kenyan, was killed by American forces in Somalia last year.