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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Mandera stops vehicle movement after spates of terror attacks

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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After at least four attacks in the last two weeks that left more than five people dead and 15 others injured, Mandera county government has stopped movement of its vehicles over increasing terror incidents.

The attacks have not only been been linked to al Shabaab, but also local inter-clan fights allegedly instigated by politics over boundary issues.

Tension and fear have gripped the County over possibility of more attacks after locals reported sighting more gunmen roaming in separate places while planning to strike.

County secretary Abdinur Hussein on June 10 explained strict regulations to be followed in the movement of their vehicles.

“As you are aware, the current prevailing security situation is very volatile and we therefore have to exercise extra caution on the movement of our official motor vehicles,” the memo said.

“To this end, you are advised to strictly observe the laid down regulations as concerns movement of county motor vehicles”.

He told the county executive committee members to take full responsibility for the vehicles under their care by ensuring no vehicle is on the road past 5pm on any weekday.

Hussein said until further notice no vehicle will be authorized to travel to the sub-counties unless on emergency missions such as ambulances, health utility vehicles or Covid-19 pandemic responses, firefighting trucks, skip loaders and sanitation trucks.

“This directive also applies to private motor vehicles hired to the Mandera county government such as the traffic marshal and anti-narcotics,” he said.

This comes in the wake of increased attacks in the area.

On June 9, at least three people were killed when a Kenya Wildlife Service vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Qoqay area, Takaba.

The bomb is believed to have been set up by militants operating in the area with impunity. At least four other people were injured in the incident.

The attackers torched the vehicle that had the victims after they had shot at the survivors as they escaped.

The victims included a forest officer and two civilians who were shot at after their vehicle had been hit by the IED.

President Kenyatta said on the same day some local leaders were staging the attacks and later blamed al Shabaab. He said those behind it would be exposed soon. The President said the government was aware of some leaders using the name of the terror gang to trigger inter-clan attacks.

“Don’t use the name of al Shabaab to cause inter clan attacks. We are aware of all and encourage you to stop it before we take decisive action,” he said.

His remarks suggested some of the fatal attacks that have been witnessed in parts of Northeastern could be staged by locals who have an agenda.

On June 6, gunmen whom locals think were al Shabaab terrorists attacked two passenger buses and killed three people including two police officers.

The gang also torched a police vehicle after the ambush in Banisa. Officials believe the attack was staged by local militia who have an agenda.

At least seven police officers and 11 civilians were injured in the attack.

On the same day, another gang shot into a police camp in Kutulo, Wajir.

The area of the attack, which is northern part of the county, has been a safe area since 2013 but has lately been a soft target.

Last month, the gang also tried to attack a communication mast in Afaat in Wajir county but three of them were killed.

Police have been mounting operations in the areas to deter their plans. The terrorists have been targeting security installations in a series of incidents.

This has affected among others the education sector forcing tens of teachers who are non-locals to flee.

The border region has borne the brunt of repeated attacks from the militants who are at times aided by locals. The area is near the Somalia border and the militants usually cross at will and stage attacks before escaping back.

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