What you need to know:
- County Commissioner Kyatha said authorities are working round the clock to find the missing workers.
- Police are investigating how the three non-locals left Mandera and headed to Lafey using the borderline road.
- It also remained unclear how the public service vehicle was on the road without police escort.
- According to Mr Kyatha, all travellers were asked to alight before the three were abducted.
Security agencies in Mandera are investigating how police officers manning roadblocks along the Mandera-Arabia-Lafey road allowed a vehicle carrying three construction workers, who were abducted on Wednesday evening, to pass through.
At the same time, Mandera County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha has said that authorities are working round the clock to find the missing workers.
Mr Kyatha Thursday said that they are engaging their counterparts in Somalia in efforts to rescue the three, adding that all security units in Mandera are involved in the rescue mission.
“We are doing everything possible to find the three people abducted last evening as we investigate the whole incident,” he said.
According to Mr Kyatha, police are investigating how the three non-locals left Mandera and headed to Lafey using the borderline road.
“We want to know how the three used that road when it is only the locals who are known to use it,” he said.
“It is very abnormal for a public service vehicle to be on that road beginning 2pm and more so with non-locals on board.”
Three police checks
Before being flagged down and the workers abducted, the vehicle had gone through three police checks, including one on exiting Mandera town, another at Koromey and the third one on entering Arabia town.
Mr Kyatha said he could not explain how the officers at these security checks allowed the three “unusual travellers” to proceed with their journey.
“We want to know who was behind their travel plan and what they were going to do without informing security officers of their plan to use that road,” he said.
It also remained unclear how the public service vehicle was on the road without police escort.
Normally, all public service vehicles within Mandera are given a police escort and those along the Mandera-Lafey road have at least police reservists on board.
According to Mr Kyatha, all travellers were asked to alight before the three were abducted.
“We are appealing for co-operation from residents of Fino area to enable us find the missing persons,” he said.
Pursuing two leads
He said police are pursuing two leads, namely business rivalry and involvement of the Al-Shabaab terror cell.
He said abduction of the three could be linked to the current mission by Al-Shabaab militants to collect “taxes” from locals.
“We are aware of the happenings where people are held along that road to force locals to pay taxes to Al-Shabaab,” he said, referring to last week's incident on the same road in which two boda-boda riders were abducted by the militants.
They were later released after the residents paid what he termed as zaka to their abductors.
Mr Kyatha warned construction workers in Mandera against travelling without reporting their plans to the police.
“Our offices are open and anybody is free to come and seek security advice before setting off,” he said.