Suspected Shabaab militants destroy communications mast in Mandera

A acommunications mast in Mandera

Communication masts in Mandera town on November 5, 2020. Suspected al-Shabaab militants destroyed a mast at Karo in Libehia Ward Thursday morning.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo | Nation Media Group

Suspected al-Shabaab militants Thursday destroyed a communications mast at Karo in Mandera County.

County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha said the militants used explosives to bring down the mast.

“The incident occurred at about 2.30am but there were no injuries or casualties reported on the security officers guarding the mast,” he said.

The mast is guarded by National Police Reservists but the attackers had more sophisticated artillery than the Reservists.

A resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the first two explosions were heard at about 2.45am and a third one at 4am.

“The attackers had a field day here. They stayed around for a long time to engage any security officers responding to the first explosion,” said the resident.

Mr Kyatha said investigations have been launched into how the militants made their way to Karo, a village that is about 40km from the Kenya-Somalia border.

“We have enough security agencies on the ground hunting down the attackers as we investigate how they got to the scene which is deep inside,” he said.

Road safe

The county security committee chairman said all measures have been put in place to ensure the security of road users.

“The road is safe for everybody and buses coming to and leaving Mandera have armed police escorts as usual,” he said.

Reports have emerged that the attackers are targeting road users and, by destroying the mast, they were trying to cut off communication.

“We are alert and ready to respond to any issue along the road and anywhere else within the county but, at the moment, we are hunting down those who damaged the mast at Karo,” said Mr Kyatha.

Al-Shabaab militants often destroy communication masts when they are planning a major attack. This is meant to make communication impossible during the attacks.