Mandera Governor Ali Roba escapes unhurt in blast

An Administration Police officer in Mandera Town shortly after the 8.50am attack targeting Governor Ali Roba’s convoy on October 15, 2014. Mr Roba was headed to his office at county headquarters. PHOTO | CORRESPONDENT |

What you need to know:

  • The governor said his life was in danger and that grenades had been hurled at his office twice.
  • A witness said other cars passed safely before the governor’s convoy.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba escaped unhurt in an attack on his motorcade on Wednesday.

His bodyguard was injured in the morning incident.

Mr Roba was headed to his Mandera Town office in a convoy of four vehicles when an improvised explosive device went off, damaging one of the cars.

“This is another assassination attempt on my life after my office was attacked twice previously,” said Mr Roba.

Mr Roba told the Nation: “The first three vehicles, including the one I was in, passed well, but the fourth one was hit. It’s only by the grace of God that my car and two other security escort cars were not affected.”

The explosion happened at 8.50am.

The guard was treated at the local hospital and discharged.

The governor said his life was in danger and that grenades had been hurled at his office twice.

The governor, a career pilot elected last year on a URP ticket, was not categorical on who was threatening his life.

“We cannot make a definite statement to that effect as police investigations have revealed nothing,” Mr Roba said.

CONTROLLED EXPLOSION

The governor, in a later press statement, repeated that the attack was an attempted assassination because the blast was a close-range controlled explosion targeting his convoy.

A witness said other cars passed safely before the governor’s convoy.

Mr Roba said it was not clear whether the explosion was a terrorist attack. He asked the police to investigate and determine the motive.

Police in Mandera refused to comment on the explosion and referred the Nation to Police headquarters in Nairobi.

Wednesday’s was the fourth attack in the county, with the last two targeting the governor. Nobody has been arrested in connection with the attacks.

Mandera has, in the recent past, been rocked by insecurity, including terrorist attacks and clan conflicts that have left dozens of people dead.

Early in August, eight men hurled grenades at the county government offices, damaging one side of the building.

County Commissioner Alex ole Nkoyo said the perimeter wall was also extensively damaged.

The chairman of the security committee of the Council of Governors, Mr Hussein Dado, condemned Wednesday’s attack and called for enhanced security for all governors.

Mr Dado, the Tana River governor, said the attempt on the life of Mr Roba should not be taken lightly.

DEEPLY CONCERNED

He called on the police and other relevant authorities to ensure those behind the attack were brought to justice.

“We are deeply concerned by the attack on Governor Roba this morning, and call upon the government to ensure that governors have enhanced security,” said Mr Dado.

“I call upon relevant government authorities to carry out proper investigations and ensure those behind the attack are punished,” he said.

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