Security agencies in Wajir on Monday foiled an attempt by suspected Al-Shabaab militants to abduct Muslim faithful who were saying their morning prayers at a mosque in Khorof Harar Sub-County.
A police report said that six armed men, suspected to be members of the terror group, arrived at a Mosque in Konton centre with the aim of abducting the faithful.
Wajir County Police Commander Hilary Toroitich confirmed the early morning incident, adding that security agencies were on alert and repulsed the attackers. He denied reports that some locals were abducted by the gunmen.
“There was an incident at a Mosque at Konton but our officers responded swiftly and saved the situation,” he said.
According to the county police boss, the militants were on a mission to take hostage the faithful and preach to them as they have done in the past.
“They intended to preach their false doctrine to the residents but that never happened,” he said, adding that despite a shootout, no injuries or fatalities were recorded.
Escaped to Somalia
“We suspect the militants came in from Somalia because they vanished into the neighbouring country as our security officers pursued them,” he said.
A report filed at Khorof Harar Police Station and seen by the Nation indicated an unknown number of worshipers had been abducted but later escaped from their captors.
“At 5.15am during the morning prayers, a group of suspected members of Al-Shabaab stormed into Konton Mosque and abducted unknown number of worshippers, in the process exchange of fire ensued between the National Police Reservists (NPR) and Al-Shabaab and the abductees managed to escape safely,” reads the report.
The NPRs were joined by Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers in pursuing the militants who ran towards Somalia.
Konton centre is along the porous Kenya-Somalia border and Shabaab militants have carried out several attacks and run back into Somalia.
On Saturday, three Al-Shabaab militants were killed after a bomb they were setting up in a village in Damasa, Mandera County, went off accidentally.
The incident happened in Nus Dariq village along the Kenya-Somali border but police said they were yet to establish the intended destination of the explosive.
Police officers killed
It came barely a week after two police officers were killed and 14 others injured after they were ambushed along the Mandera-Elwak road.
The group was heading to Nairobi on leave before they were attacked about 30 kilometres from Rhamu town in Mandera North.
None of the officers on board a lorry was armed when they were attacked.
Reports shared among security installations in Mandera had warned of planned attacks along the main roads in the county.
“Information received has it that an unknown number of Al-Shabaab militants have planned to carry out attacks on Kenya security camp situated at the outskirts of Elwak town along the Kenya-Somalia border,” reads the report shared on November 20.
The intelligence report showed the militants were camping at Yatho along the common border and were planning to carry out attacks from November 22.
Their target was public service vehicles plying the Elwak-Kotulo-Wajir road.
The report warned that with the onset of rains and December festivities approaching, the militia planned to increase attacks within the region.
“There is a need to alert security teams to thwart or prevent the planned attacks by the militia,” the reports said.