World Bulletin / News Desk
Kenyan security forces on Monday arrested more than 260 people Mombasa, in the latest swoop in Kenya's second largest city, which has been hit by attacks in recent weeks.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa said the arrests followed a failed church attack and an explosion that injured two people, including a police officer, in the city on Thursday. The attackers managed to free a suspect who had been arrested by police
"We know who are behind these attacks," Marwa said. "We are on a manhunt for three main suspects .And we will leave no stone unturned in areas we believe are their hideouts."
The new arrests – which targeted Mombasa's Majengo and Town center – take to 490 the number of suspects detained in Mombasa since Sunday.
The suspects arrested in the swoop are expected to be arraigned in the Mombasa Law Courts on Wednesday.
Swabah Bakhressa, a resident of Majengo and a mother of one of the detained suspects, said police went on a door-to-door search in the mostly low-income earners neighborhood.
"Police forcefully entered in to our house Monday morning and took away my son and my neighbors' two sons," Bakhressa told AA.
"It was until Monday night that I got to know where he has been held. My son Mahsen sells coffee in Majengo and not once has associated himself with mosques said to be led by radical Imams," she added in the local language Swahili.
Majengo, a poverty stricken part of Mombasa, is mainly inhabited by Arab and Swahili people, both regarded as the indigenous ethnic groups of the Coast region.
Intelligence reports blame poverty and unemployment for the alleged radicalization of youth in the poor neighborhood.
"When KDF [Kenyan Defense Force] liberated most of the regions under Al-Shabaab, most Kenyan youth fighting alongside the terror group returned home," Marwa said.
"Having these youth within the society is a time bomb. And this is what we are experiencing now," he added.
Mombasa has recently been the target of several deadly bombing.
On May 3, a man left a plastic bag near a prominent beach hotel in Mombasa. After he left, the bag exploded without causing injuries. Moments later, a grenade was hurled at a bus in Mombasa, killing four and wounding many others.
In March, gunmen stormed a church in Likoni near Mombasa, killing two people on the spot and hurting four others who later succumbed to their injuries.
Kenyan authorities blame the attacks on Somalia's militant Al-Shabaab group, which demands that Nairobi withdraw its troops – dispatched in 2011 – from Somalia.
The attacks have prompted western countries to issue travel advisories for Kenya and to evacuate hundreds of tourists from the coastal region.
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