Shabaab attackers torch homes in Garissa
What you need to know:
- According to police reports, the attackers first abducted two people, a man and his son, who they used to identify homes of reservists. Later they released 80-year-old Mohammed Bashir Mursal.
- His son,
Abdi Mohammed, is still missing.
Suspected Al-Shabaab militants on Wednesday night torched shops and three homes belonging to National Police Reservists at Sangailu, Ijara Sub-County, Garissa County.
The attack comes a day after a police reservist was killed around the same area.
According to police reports, the attackers first abducted two people, a man and his son, and used them to identify the reservists' homes. Later they released 80-year-old Mohammed Bashir Mursal. His son, Abdi Mohammed, is still missing.
North Eastern Regional Co-ordinator Nicodemus Ndalana confirmed the 9pm incident in Gedilun Village.
"... Some people attacked a village yesterday before abducting two people who they may have used to identify the homes of police reservists before burning their houses," he told the Nation.
The regional police boss said security forces were immediately dispatched to the area but they were unable to establish the route the attackers might have taken due to reluctance by the locals to provide information on the militants.
Mr Ndalana said they will engage with area leaders to speak to locals on the importance of co-operating with security agencies in the war against the Al-Qaeda linked militant group.
BEAT UP LOCALS
Area Member of Parliament Sofia Abdi Noor said the attackers also beat up locals and left around 4am Thursday morning.
“They were blaming us saying we allowed our sons to join the KDF army,” explained Ms Noor during an interview with the Nation.
“Mursal is still in shock, he cannot even utter a word. He was beaten before being released,” said the MP.
The son is said to be around 30 years old.
Earlier this month, Wajir residents reported sighting suspected Al-Shabaab militants in Dadbule area.
They said the suspects were going round preaching to locals and asking them not to reveal their presence to security agencies.
“They were 12 of them and were armed,” said a resident, Mariam Ibrahim.
The attackers were reported to have been depending on three donkeys for mobility and shared a water point with the locals.
Another resident who did not want to be named said: “The group walks around with AK-47 assault rifles and RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and when they come to fetch water, some of them act as guards.”
The source also said that a vehicle has been seen supplying food to the militants.
It is suspected the vehicle comes from Garissa County.
Mr Ndalana warned local Shabaab sympathisers that the government will catch up with them.
"Like yesterday, our officers were waiting for them but it appears some locals tipped them off about our plans," he said.
Mr Ndalana further said the war against Al-Shabaab was getting complex as the Somalia-based militants continue to modify their ''modus operandi''.
He gave the example of an attack two days ago where the militants were masquerading as herdsmen.
WHY RESERVISTS ARE TARGETED
This is the third attack targeting police reservists in a span of one week.
Mr Ndalana said the militants are now targeting NPRs because they believe they are providing intelligence to security agencies on their whereabouts.
Six days ago, an 80-year-old man was killed after suspected Shabaab militants attacked Sangole Village in Ijara Sub-County.
The victim, the father of an NPR, was killed as ''punishment'' to the son for working with security forces.
The area MP, Ms Noor, has urged the government to work on a strategy that will handle the attacks.
“Ijara area has been hit badly. We are losing lives. The attackers are a small number of people. If we stand together as a country and defend our land, we can manage the situation,” she said.
Counties in the northern and coastal regions have borne the brunt of frequent attacks from Shabaab militants due to their proximity to Somalia's border.
North Eastern activist Simba Hashem Gedow said the frequent attacks are rarely reported especially by the mainstream media.
“The attacks are making Northern Kenya territories of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa unsafe for basic service delivery. We urge northerners to remain vigilant and report these terrorists to law enforcement agencies. We should not allow Al-Shabaab to subdue us into silence,” he said.