- A man suspected to be an Al Shabaab militant toured the Cedar Mall in Nanyuki and secretly took photos and videos of the facility Mid January
- He had hired a young boda boda rider to take him to the mall for the survey
- After they were done, the rider became suspicious and reported the matter to security officials
- The suspected Al Shabaab militant had paid for the boda boda services using m-pesa, revealing his real identity
On February 4th, the US Embassy had issued a security alert, warning its citizens that the Al Shabaab were planning a terror attack in several parts of Kenya, Nanyuki being one of them.
“Credible information indicates Westerners may be targeted by extremists in Nairobi, Naivasha, Nanyuki, and coastal areas of Kenya. The U.S. Embassy reminds the public of the continued need for heightened vigilance throughout Kenya, especially in public spaces such as shopping malls, hotels, and places of worship.” Reads part of the alert that was posted on the American Embassy website
Two weeks before the alert was issued, police in Nanyuki had been on high alert following intelligence reports that the dreaded rag tag Al Shabaab militiamen were planning an attack on the high end Cedar Mall. The mall is popular with westerners, especially the British Army who have a huge presence in the small town
The intelligence reports included details about the man of Borana origin who had toured the mall to take photos and record videos. He had also inquired from the rider if he knew how far it is from Cedar Mall to the British army and KDF camps that are just a few minutes from Nanyuki town
From an M-Pesa sms that was shared by the boda boda rider, the man was identified as Hirbo Ahamed Shaller, who disappeared some years back from his home in Marsabit county to join Al Shabaab in Somalia.
A chief from Marsabit county who was contacted by authorities confirmed that Hirbo Ahmed was from his area but he was not aware that he had returned from Somalia. A manhunt has since began to get hold of him and establish reasons why he was in Nanyuki and why he took photos of the Cedar mall
The mall which is usually bustling with activity hosts Chandarana Supermarket, Java and KFC among other businesses. People have been keeping away for fear that Al Shabbab could come calling any time. However, management at Cedar Mall has assured the public that all security measures have been put in place and various security organs that have a huge presence in Nanyuki are on high alert if anything happens
Just few days ago, there was panic in Nanyuki after 152 dummy bombs were discovered in a hardware shop. Police stormed the shop after locals reported that he was assembling bombs and training Al Shabaab members. However, it was later established that the man had bought the dummy bombs as scrap metal from the British army and he had unsuccessfully tried to sell them since 2010