Global Counter-IED MapPolice counter-IED units

Kenya Bomb Disposal Unit

kenya policeLocation: Nairobi


Type: Police

The Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) was established in 2002 and works in coordination with the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU).

The BDU shares responsibility for handling, detonating and defusing bombs, grenades and IEDs.

The BDU also conduct post-blast investigations in order to track the materials to the sources and makers. This then aids the ATPU in finding the suspects.

The BDU does however, face severe shortages such as:

  • Protective gear
  • Equipment
  • Funds – particularly salaries to encourage more officers to join
  • Staffing
  • Vehicles – they have to rely on the ATPU’s vehicles

As of April this year 2016 they had 28 officers, including commanders, though more detectives were being dispatched to Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret and areas in North Kenya.

Other officers are also expected to join the unit soon after they have completed their specialised training, necessary to be part of the BDU and undertake the hazardous work involved.

In the past they have been provided with bomb disposal equipment from the United States for BDU. This equipment has included a digital x-ray scanner, mobile bomb detecting robots, bomb disposal suits, as well as other specialised detection and disposal tools.

The US have also provided training to the BDU for many years as part of the Anti-Terror Assistance Programme. The BDU were trained on how to use the new equipment for detecting car bombs, explosive packages, suicide vests. They also received training on the methods used by terrorists, such as Al Shabaab, to package, conceal, transplant and plant bombs.

In July, new equipment was launched, including detonation units and robots. A new forensic lab is also in the process of being built.


This profile is part of AOAV’s investigation into counter-IED (C-IED) actors around the globe. To see the list of all C-IED actors recorded by AOAV, see here. To see those engaged in the Middle East, the Sahel, North Africa or other highly impacted countries please see here, here, here, and here respectively. This research was made possible by funding from the NATO Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE). To read the full report, ‘Addressing the threat posed by IEDs: National, Regional and Global Initiatives’, see here.