Security bosses in Mombasa are scratching their heads for answers after a sniper bullet was found near the venue of this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations.
The Saturday Nation has established that the live bullet was found in Senti Kumi, Likoni, during the celebrations.
The location is directly opposite the Mama Ngina Waterfront Park, where President Uhuru Kenyatta led the festivities.
The 500 metres Likoni channel is what separates Senti Kumi, along Shelly Beach, and the refurbished Mama Ngina Waterfront Park.
A sniper bullet can travel as far as two miles, equivalent to 3,218 metres, depending on the weapon used, its calibre and wind speed, among other factors, according to experts.
The longest recorded sniper shot was by a Canadian, whose bullet travelled up to 3,540 metres, according to reports.
The seized bullet, sources said, was taken for analysis. “If a bullet was found then there must be a rifle, which we are now looking for,” a senior detective told the Saturday Nation in confidence, adding that the recovery had raised concern among security forces in the region.
Security sources in Likoni alleged that the bullet was linked to the three terror suspects who were killed in Majengo Mapya three weeks before Mashujaa Day.
Police reports indicate that the suspects were to carry out an attack during the ceremony.
A cache of deadly weapons was confiscated after the suspects identified as Said Ramadhan Mkubwa, Salama Suleiman Mohamed and Swaleh Yusuf Abdalla were killed in their house in Dudus.
Among the items found were a G3 rifle, a hand grenade, three kilos of ammonium nitrate, which is used in making explosions, and hundreds of ammunition of different types.
The bullets included 217 rounds of 7.62mm, 490 rounds of 9mm, 444 rounds of 22mm, 45 special rounds, and 123 rounds of 12 mm.
Also found were 68 air rifle bullets, nine machetes, nine balaclavas, assorted military holsters and porches, and three military jungle uniforms.
After the raid, eight people were arrested with two of them – identified as Athuman Nyae and Bakari Chimbonja – saying they had planned to carry out the attack on Mashujaa Day.
The two, said to be members of Al-Shabaab, have since been charged at Mombasa Law Courts.
According to an affidavit filed in court and attributed to intelligence reports, the accused and others, who are still at large, were planning a “major attack” during Mashujaa Day celebrations using the seized weapons.
Police are hunting down 10 suspects linked to Al-Shabaab and said to be dangerous.
They include Ali Shando, alias Mzalamu, Zamdini, alias Sheli Sheli, Adisi Mwanenda, Mohamed Bakari Mwachidiwa, Mohamed Mwinyi Mwachidigo, Suleiman Bakari Mwasura, Bakari Hassan Setu, Hamdi George, Adam Hamisi Jabalenni and Ali Tengeza.
Meanwhile, the two suspects denied accusations of planning the attack, being members of Al-Shabaab and harbouring terrorists.
The police raid was done two days after a terror alert was issued stating that the Somalia-based militia group had sent seven operatives into the country to carry out attacks targeting key installations in Mombasa.
The alert, sent to police commanders, instructed them to share the information with junior officers.
It indicated that some of the targeted installations included Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Moi International Airport and the Mombasa terminus of the standard gauge railway.
The alert prompted Kenya Navy to take over part of Mombasa Town during the celebrations. The soldiers patrolled Senti Kumi, where the lethal bullet was found.
Despite the deployment of soldiers and other security officers in the area, concern was raised over security lapses witnessed at the venue of the celebrations.
Dignitaries were forced to walk to the podium, unlike in previous cases where their vehicles dropped them off near the dais.
Deputy President William Ruto, Opposition leader Raila Odinga, and Chief Justice David Maraga were the only people driven to the podium as per security procedures.