How to Spot a Suicide Bomber

  • Bombing Incident That Rocked American Embassy in Nairobi on August 7, 1998
    Bombing Incident That Rocked American Embassy in Nairobi on August 7, 1998
    DW
  • Following the twin bombing incidence in the neighbouring country of Uganda, Kenya has been on high alert heightening security throughout the country to assure citizens of their security.

    The security apparatus in their report asked Kenyans to remain vigilant to avert the occurrence of terrorist attacks in the country. Uganda, on the other hand, went ahead to provide vital information to their citizens on how they can spot a suicide bomber.

    This decision has also been informed by the current incident where three terrorism convicts escaped from Kamiti Maximum Prison.

    National Police Service heightened security in the country after the Kampala attacks on Tuesday morning, November 16, 2021.
    National Police Service heightened security in the country after the Kampala attacks on Tuesday morning, November 16, 2021.
    Courtesy National police Service Twitter

    To keep citizens informed, Kenyans.co.ke has detailed a few tips in conjunction with security experts on how to spot a suicide bomber, their characteristics, and what to do when you notice one.

    Suicide bombing, according to Britannica, is an act in which an individual personally delivers explosives and detonates them to inflict the greatest possible damage, killing himself or herself in the process. The victims, in most of these cases, are usually unsuspecting civilians.

    Most of these bombings are linked to a political cause or grievance. Some are committed as an act of retaliation.

    Here are a few tips on How to Spot a Suicide Bomber

    According to a security expert, a suicide bomber in most cases tends to avoid security protocols and checks. They steer clear of these as much as possible to avert exposure.

    "Suicide bombers tend to pose awkwardly with most of them avoiding security checks. Some even try to force entry into buildings and other premises. You remember the Dusit attack? they forced their entry into the building. This should be a red flag and one should not hesitate to raise the alarm," he told Kenyans.co.ke.

    The security expert added that most of them tend to dress in clothing that does not match the weather.

    "Most of them dress in clothes that are just off. Like on a very hot day, you might find them wearing heavy coats. Their clothes may even look excessively loose to conceal the explosives devices."

    In addition, they appear nervous. They may seem preoccupied or stare blankly just to deceive others around them.

    Further, they will awkwardly attempt to blend their behavior with others, which makes them look very odd. 

    They portray avoidance behaviors towards law enforcement officers. In the presence of security personnel within their vicinity, they tend to be inconspicuous.

    Moreover, a suicide bomber will tend to walk deliberately towards a specific direction. In most cases, they try to push their way through crowds or around boundaries. 

    Others tend to have clean cut haircuts or beard cuts. This is a strategy employed to conceal their appearance before committing their terrorism act.

    With a closer look, one may notice the bomb trigger which is usually concealed under their fingers, allowing them to easily detonate the bomb.  

    Those carrying heavy bombs are easily spotted with bags, suitcases, or luggage. In other cases, their appearance may be of excessive weight.

    Many bombs will be packed with shrapnel such as ball bearings, nuts, bolts, screws, nails, or other small metal objects that are dispersed into the crowd upon detonation. These comprise the bomber’s primary kill mechanism.

    However, these clues sometimes may fail to spot a suicide bomber, as they are also evolving and devising their own means to execute the heinous acts. But according to security experts, the police can heighten surveillance using CCTV cameras and other monitoring devices.

    "Police also need to improvise other means of surveillance. They can use CCTV cameras installed in different parts of the country. In some countries, the intelligence units are allowed to tap into citizens phones in order to monitor all communications, hence being able to avert cases of suicide bombing."

    How to Respond When You Notice a Suicide Bomber

    The most important action to take is to scamper for safety but not in a way that would raise alarm. After, one is advised to make a call or report as soon as possible to a nearby police station informing them of the imminent danger.

    "If one is identified or strongly suspected, one should not attempt to intervene. Rather, clear the area of bystanders and request a response from law enforcement. If evacuation is not an option, get safe behind a solid wall or fixed barrier and remain there until the all clear has been given."

    Even after the suicide bomber is apprehended, individuals are advised to keep away from the area until the anti-terror police unit clears the area.

    These simple steps may help avert a disaster in the country.

    Former British SAS member Christian Craighead at Dusit D2 in January 2019.
    Former British SAS member Christian Craighead at Dusit D2 in January 2019.
    Daily Nation
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