MOMBASA, Kenya, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police on Friday killed two suspects behind the church attack in the coastal city of Mombasa last Sunday which left at least six people dead and 17 others injured.
"The gunmen were in motorbike when they were confronted by Special Crime Prevention Unit police officers and gunned down in fierce shoot out after they defied order to surrender," said Regional police commander Robert Kitur.
A loaded pistol was recovered from the two suspects, said Kitur, adding police officers had acted on intelligence shared by members of the public.
The police commander said the shootout ensued after the police trailed the suspects and during the shootout, a third suspect managed to escape with bullet wounds.
According to the police, the gunmen were directly linked with Sunday's church attack. One of the suspects killed was described by witness as tall and slender and was believed by police to be the leader.
Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa said the suspects' killing was a major breakthrough in the fight against terrorism in the tourism resort city of Mombasa.
"We are still investigating the Sunday attack but we cannot rule out terror attack. The latest development is an achievement to counter terrorism in the country," Marwa said.
The spent cartridges recovered from the two suspects matched those collected from the church, according to detectives. They were handed over to detectives for ballistic examination.
Three gunmen stormed the church on Sunday morning and indiscriminately shot at worshippers. Six worshipers including women were killed and scores injured. A child with a bullet lodged in his head is among survivors of the deadly attack.
Marwa said security has been beefed up in Mombasa to deal with terror suspects. He appealed for public support to assist the government in winning the war on terror.
He said security apparatus are on higher alert following a foiled terror attack in the coastal city and the recovery of a vehicle packed with explosives.
The move comes after Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku announced that an additional 500 police officers will be deployed with immediate effect in Nairobi, Mombasa and their environs to enhance security and surveillance to thwart any terror threats across the two major cities.
He said other security organs will support the exercise which is aimed at ensuring the East African nation, once an oasis of peace in the region, is safe.
Lenku also said security operation mounted in the coastal city of Mombasa to track and arrest suspects of the church attack last Sunday continues and so far 109 suspects have been arrested.
"I appeal to Kenyans to always remember security is a shared responsibility and citizens should cooperate with law enforcement agencies at all times," he said on Tuesday.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has also vowed that his government will take decisive action against all those engaging in terror activities.
The president said he was pained by the actions of criminals who opened fired on worshippers in the Mombasa church last Sunday, adding that the government will use all its machinery to ensure the perpetrators are brought to book.