Police shot and killed two suspected terrorists at the busy Likoni ferry channel in Mombasa on Friday, and said the suspects may have been planning to launch an attack on the ferry.
The two were in a matatu and were alighting to head to the ferry when police, acting on a tip off, accosted them
“When they sensed police had cornered them, one drew a grenade and tried to detonate it but he was shot and killed before he could do so. The other had a pistol and was also killed,” Nelson Marwa, Mombasa County commissioner said.
“They may have been planning to attack passengers on the ferry, or launch attacks at some destination across the ferry,” he added.
The Likoni ferry links Mombasa island to South Coast, with ferries that transport thousands of passengers daily who come to Mombasa for work and business, and return across to their homes.
It is also used by tourist vehicles which carry tourists from the airport to hotels in South Coast and back, and also when they are going for safaris.
The suspect carrying the grenade died while holding it, and police were contemplating detonating it on his body.
“Today there would be a tragedy on this ferry had the police not noticed these suspects and acted quickly. They (police) have saved many lives,” Emmanuel Kimoto, a guard on the ferry, told Baraka FM at the scene.
The incident happened in the evening, during peak time when thousands of passengers scramble on to the ferries to get back home.
One ferry carries over 1000 people and tens of vehicles at one go, and an attack during such rush hours would result in many causalities.