Mandera bus passengers survive suspected Shabaab attack

The bus that was shot at by suspected al-Shabaab militants in Mandera on January 11, 2021.

The bus that was shot at by suspected al-Shabaab militants in Mandera on January 11, 2021.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo | Nation Media Grouo

Passengers on a bus in Mandera  yesterday survived an attack as suspected al-Shabaab militants shot at their bus.

Peter Lotulia, the Banisa sub-county deputy county commissioner, said the bus’ driver managed to drive through the ambush.

Four people travelling in a private car also survived after their vehicle hit a roadside explosive.

“A private vehicle delivering examination material to Mandera East was hit by an explosive and we have managed to get two of the occupants but the other two are missing,” said Mr Lotulia.

The sub-county deputy county commissioner said police officers have been dispatched to search for the two missing persons, who are believed to be alive.

“The two occupants of the landcruiser are fine but we are looking for their two colleagues whom we believe took off due to fear,” he said, dismissing claims that the two have been abducted.

Mr Lotulia said for the bus incident, which happened at 1:30pm, the vehicle was being escorted by officers and this prevented the situation from getting worse.

“We could be talking of a worse situation by now,” he said.

The Moyale Raha company bus left Mandera about 9am, according to the records at the local booking office.

The bus that was shot at by suspected al-Shabaab militants in Mandera on January 11, 2021.

The bus that was shot at by suspected al-Shabaab militants in Mandera on January 11, 2021.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo | Nation Media Group

The attack comes barely three days after Mandera Governor Ali Roba raised an alarm over the resurgence of al-Shabaab.

On Friday, Mr Roba said people are now living in fear after the return of the Somali-based terrorist group.

He claimed it has has occupied strategic locations in the county and northeastern Kenya in general.

Mr Roba said al-Shabaab said is getting bolder and more aggressive.

According to the governor, a serious security crisis is unfolding within Mandera County caused by undeterred movement of terror cells within the county.

He said the situation has been developing over the last three months but has reached unprecedented levels now.

"They roam freely and the public has kept on reporting these movements (actionable intelligence) but unfortunately the situation has kept on growing from bad to worse," he said.

Mr Lotulia confirmed reports that the militants have been sighted in his area for the past few months.

“We have been getting reports of the Alshabaab being sighted in Banisa and we were planning a security operation over the same,” he said.

Banisa is located about 200km from the Kenya Somalia border and has only been experiencing banditry incidents spilling in from Ethiopia.

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