Police arrest two Iranians planning terror attacks on Kenya

Police arrest two Iranians planning terror attacks on Kenya

Over the last one month, police have arrested two men on suspicion of terror and espionage on behalf of the Iranian State Intelligence.

The two men Abubakar Sadiq Louw and Yassin Sambai Juma, have admitted to conspiring to mount terror attacks against Western targets in Kenya.

Some of the spots they were targeting included hotels in Nairobi, frequently used by Western tourists, businessmen and diplomats.

Abubakar Sadiq Louw, 69, is a senior figure in Nairobi Shiite Community. According to police sources, he was arrested on October 29th this year after a long intensive police investigation.


He admitted recruiting young Kenyans to spy and mount terror attacks in Nairobi. Louw was working on behalf of the Qods Force, the clandestine overseas military wing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which carries out the terror activities worldwide.

One of the students recruited by Sadiq Louw was 25 year old Yassin Sambai Juma, from Nairobi.


Sadiq Louw also divulged to the investigators that he arranged for Juma to travel to Iran and introduced him to the Qods Force contact, nicknamed “Parsa”.

“Parsa” subsequently gave Juma a set of tasks and Western targets for future terror attacks in Nairobi.  Police arrested Juma on the 19th of November, upon his return to Nairobi after having undertaken some military training in Iraq.

Louw also admitted that he was approached by Iranian government officials in 2012 to serve the country’s military intelligence organization.

He was tasked then to identify suitable Kenyan students aged 20-30 who would become spies and carry out attacks on Western interests in Kenya.

In the past year, Louw recruited a pool of local young Muslim men to serve as secret operatives for Qods Force.

Louw’s recruits were enticed with the promise of receiving “a scholarship for Islamic Studies ” and military training in Iran. When Juma travelled to Iran in April, he used the guise of going for Islamic training on scholarship hence did not raise any suspicion from the immigration.

An extensive investigation by the Kenyan Security Services, which included reaching out to other services in Afirca, has enabled investigations to determine that “Parsa” has visited several countries in the continent in the past and that his real name is Mojtaba Ghanbarian.


Ghanbarian and Juma met in Karbala, Iraq in October, 2015 during which Juma was introduced to a special training.

This training session was scheduled when the two first met in Iran in April. This was also a good time for Ghanbarian to pay Juma thousands of dollars to fund his and Abubakar Sadiq Louw’s terror activity in Kenya.

While in Iraq, “Parsa” introduced Juma to Iranian experts who trained him on tactical fieldwork, methods for withstanding interrogation and how to disguise his true identity.

In Karbala, Juma met with an Iranian espionage expert nick-named “the Professor “. The Iranian professor taught Juma techniques of how to move from place to place while avoiding detection or being followed by security agencies.

To assess Juma abilities in what he had been introduced to, he was subjected to a practical in which he was sent on an exercise that was used as a dry run for his real mission back home in Kenya.

The task was to gather discretely information on a hotel in Karbala, a simulation of the actual mission that was given to him later on by the Qods contact “Parsa” to gather operational intelligence on prominent   hotels in Nairobi.

The extent of the training Juma received in Iran and Iraq is not yet known, but it is assessed that he was due to go for further training, such as handling explosive materials and electronic components, using encrypted communications and more.

Juma has admitted that “Parsa” had arranged to meet him in Tanzania in the Spring, for further instructions and training. “Parsa” had also told Juma that in the future he would have to recommend other locals suitable for recruitment as terror operatives.

Louw, who recruited Juma, has all this time maintained close relationship and communication with “Parsa” via coded email messages. Louw has used this method to inform “Parsa” about his recruits and other Iranian interests.

Louw visited Iran for the first time in the early 1980s shortly after the Iranian revolution.

Over the past few years, he was summoned to Iran several times, with his flights and accommodation sponsored by the Iranian government. It was during these visits that Louw met with his Qods Force contact “Parsa”.

Louw has also disclosed that other operatives flew with him for meetings in Iran. Counter-terror police are currently searching for these individuals and all other Kenyans Louw recruited, including students form Rasoul El-Akram School in Barsol.

Some of these students visited Iran for Islamic studies with Louw’s assistance.

Louw’s and Juma’s arrest came after months of secret intensive work by Kenyan Police, in cooperation with the other law enforcement agencies in Africa.

The Iranian Qods Force has been trying to operate in Kenya for years to recruit young Muslims and train them to smuggle explosives in the country.

However they are encountering rigorous efforts by Kenya Police and law enforcement agencies to foil terror activity in the country.

The police are working closely with the local Shiite Muslim community to determine threats and locate anyone who may be working for the Iranian government against Kenyan interests.

These people are being monitored and will be dealt with at the discretion of the police and in accordance with the law.

The last attempted attack by the Qods force in Kenya was foiled in January 2012, when two Iranian operatives were arrested with 15kg explosives.

The two men, Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi, were tried and convicted of committing acts intended to cause serious harm, including planning attacks in Kenya.

The Nairobi court sentenced the two to life in prison.

(Additional reporting by: Michael Njenga)


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