A major security operation was underway yesterday in Mandera to arrest members of the suspected al Shabaab militia who raided a police post and seized weapons before burning a mobile phone transmission mast early Saturday. Internal Security permanent secretary Francis Kimemia said the soldiers and the police have been deployed to beef up security and prevent militias crossing over from Somalia and carrying out attacks.
Security officials yesterday said a combined team of military and police was in Arabia area of Laffey district in Mandera county in a bid to hunt down the militias and recover the stolen G-3 rifle and bullets. Residents in the village, about 45Km South of Mandera town, told how 40 militants armed with AK-47 rifles on Saturday stormed the town.
The militants, according to residents, drove in two groups with two Land Cruisers and fired at an AP camp forcing six officers attached to the post to take cover for safety after realizing they had been ambushed and outnumbered.
The attackers besieged the village for more than three hours. “The militia who were all armed knew what they wanted, after accomplishing their mission of dismantling communications gadgets,” said a resident from the area who witnessed the incident.
On Thursday, two separate attacks blamed on remnants of al-Shabaab militant group hiding in the country killed a military man and injured 11 others in Mandera while in Garissa, two simultaneous grenade attacks killed six people and injured 15 others.
The Internal Security PS over the weekend issued an alert to residents of North Eastern province to be aware of al Shabaab diversionary tactics that include having Kenyan Somalis appear to be attacking non-Somalis and Kenyan soldiers in Garissa and Mandera. “This propaganda won’t work. The war against al Shabaab will be won in Somalia and Kenyans won’t be driven to attack each other,” said Kimemia.
He urged locals to remain extra vigilant and patriotic and to account for every neighbour and report suspicious people within their midst. “It is not a war against Muslims, Christians or Somalis, but against terrorists,” added the PS. He said the government with the support of international community had decided to fix the final nail on al Shabaab.
Yesterday, reports indicated the militants who attacked Arabia AP Post escaped to the Somalia village of Khadija Hajji, which is less than 25Km from Arabia.
Meanwhile, Mandera East MP Mohammed Hussein Ali urged the government to beef up security along the Kenya-Somalia border to avert further incursions into the country by militant groups from the war-ravaged country. He wondered why the country’s military deployed on the border cannot prevent frequent raids by the terror group inside Kenya.
According to security officials, the latest attack on communication and transport installations inside Kenya is a ploy by al-Shabaab terror group to delay security responses whenever they attack.