Kenyan Police have arrested five suspects after they threw a live grenade as the officers chased them on a major highway in the capital Nairobi on Monday evening.
According to police report, the suspects were in a gang of nine that was spotted riding at high speed on three motor cycles near Mathare 29/30 bus terminus along Thika Road.
Suspicious of the men’s mission, police patrolling the area chased them as the suspects escaped towards Mathare North, a semi-formal settlement, and intercepted the motor cycles at Drive-In stage on Thika Road.
Some of the suspects fell off the bikes as others took to their heels.
“One of them threw a hand grenade at the officers and ran towards Mathare direction,” reads the report sent to police headquarters in Nairobi.
Police officers guarding British money minter, De La Rue, and other adjacent properties joined in the operation and managed to arrest the suspects.
The men were identified as 24-year-old Kevin Opiyo Onyango, 30-year-old Maricus Odhiambo, Moses Okiri Nyarianga, 21, Collins Juma Oduor, 19, and Samwel Wanyoike Njeri, 19.
The mission of the suspected terrorists was not immediately clear but they were headed to Nairobi’s Central Business District.
They were handcuffed, bundled into a police car and driven to Muthaiga Police Station where they spent the night.
In the operation, the officers found one self-propelled grenade, a motor cycle, five flash discs and three mobile phones.
Four other suspects managed to escape on foot.
It was not immediately clear if the suspects are linked to Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terror group but their profiles point to the worrying rise of a new generation of Kenyan jihadists.
Their regional and ethnic origins are starkly different from that of typical Kenyan members recruited in the past by Al-Shabaab.
The suspects’ arrest follows a resurgence of criminals using motorcycle to commit serious crimes, including murder and robbery.
The trend has caused alarm within security agencies, as gangsters use the fast and manoeuvrable motorcycles to escape from crime scenes.