Al Shabaab militants abduct 3 masons in Mandera attack

Friday, September 25th, 2020 00:00 |
Police officers in Mandera at the scene of a past bus attack. A combined force of security officers are investigating a terror attack in Elwak, Mandera. Photo/PD/FILE

Three masons were on Wednesday evening abducted and taken to an unknown destination by suspected al Shabaab militants in Lafey, Mandera County.

The attack takes to three, the attacks witnessed in the same sub-county that has claimed at least six lives.

Militants flagged down a public service bus between Fino and Lafey where the terrorists abducted three men, all non-locals and by yesterday evening, police had not established their whereabouts.

North Eastern Region police boss Rono Bunei said the bus had a total of 15 passengers but the terrorists only abducted the non-locals.

Bunei added the missing men were headed for work in Lafey when the incident occurred, adding that the bus driver and the turn boy were arrested and were being grilled.

“The incident happened between Fino and Sheikh Barrow. We are still pursuing them in efforts to rescue them alive.

We are wondering how they knew the three were aboard the bus hence our decision to hold the crew,” Rono told People Daily.

Immediately the matter was reported, officers launched on operation but faced challenges since it was at night.

Joint investigations

A joint team of officers has launched investigations and operations to rescue the men.

Preliminary reports indicated that it could be due to politics and the infighting among the militia who are hell-bent on derailing development.

Most of the previous attacks in the region have targeted non-locals where several have been killed while others injured.

“We have adequate information and resources to track them down,” Bunei said.

Rono attributed the attacks partly to the locals who were not sharing information.

“We can stop such incidents with the help of locals. No one can plant a bomb on a public road without being seen by locals hence need for their cooperation to stop the trend,” he said.

The attack happened just three days after five terrorists and a Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldier were killed following an ambush attack on a military convoy in the same Lafey region.

KDF soldiers were ambushed along Alungu-Elwak road in the morning using grenades and guns.

The team was headed for a local airstrip when the incident happened. A witness said the ambush and subsequent fighting lasted 30 minutes leaving five militants dead.

Five days before the incident, two traders on a motorbike were also attacked by suspected militants along the Fino-Sheikh Barrow road in the same Lafey Sub-County. The two however survived the ambush.

Two Cuban doctors who were kidnapped in April last year are yet to be rescued and reports indicate that they are still operating in Al Shabaab controlled areas in Somalia.

The Al Shabaab group, according to reports, still remains the major threat in areas along the common border where they usually target include security personnel, public vehicles and establishments along the border and the Coastal region.

The region has borne the brunt of grenade and gun attacks in the last several years before and after Kenya sent its troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight the al-Shabaab militia group.

In another incident last week, al Shabaab militants were killed after an IED they were assembling exploded on them in Fafi, Garissa county.

Four others were injured and officials said they were later picked by a Somalia-registered Toyota Hilux double cabin.

The militants have been planting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on the roads in the region, targeting security agents.

A number of the officers have been killed in such attacks.

On September 2, an IED set up at Wantey, Bura-Hache in Mandera killed one security official and destroyed an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC). The personnel were patrolling the area when they stepped on the bomb.

The militants continued to unleash terror this year, killing more than 20 people between January and February in the North Eastern and Coast regions.

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