THE National Intelligence Service informed the police and the Kenya Defence Forces in Mandera and Nairobi about an imminent terror attack by al Shabaab but did not act.
According to an intelligence officer based in Mandera, the security agencies were informed that at least 15 heavily armed insurgent had crossed into the country using three pickups mid November.
The officer who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals from his seniors said the police were also told of an active terror cell in Omar Jilaow area near Arabia village between Mandera town and Elwak, the spot where 28 Kenyans were brutally murdered on Saturday morning.
He said the terrorists are believed to have come from Gedo,Somalia, a region bordering Kenya at the northern tip of Mandera county. This region is often known as â€œno manâ€™s landâ€ as people move goods in and out of both countries freely.
Vehicles carrying contraband sugar and other assorted illegal goods ply this area with some dangerous fighters and caches of weapons finding their way into the country.
Abdulaziz Mohamed, a Mandera resident who described himself as an independent journalist also claimed he saw more than six cars â€œwith dozen weapons on them, and over 30 men” crossing into Kenyan on November 10.
The intelligence officer told the Star that they had intelligence reports that the newly-crowned al-Shabaab leader Ahmad Umar Abu Ubbaidah had convened a meeting of heavily-trained members in Luq, southwestern Gedo, where they identified a â€œsoft targetâ€ in Kenya.
Mandera Governor Ali Roba also said he had shared intelligence information with the government of the existence of terror cells but it was ignored.
â€œThe government constantly downplayed the situation,â€ he said.