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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Two more cops succumb as death toll from Mandera bus attack rises

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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The death toll in the Mandera gun attack on two passenger buses has risen to three as tow more cops succumb.

The deceased include two police officers who were escorting the buses when they were attacked on Monday afternoon.

There were nine police officers who were escorting the buses when they were ambushed by an unknown number of gunmen believed to be Al-Shabaab terrorists, police and witnesses said.

Seven police officers and 11 passengers on board both buses were seriously injured.

The officers were Tuesday flown to Nairobi for further medical attention.

The attackers also torched a police LandCruiser that was carrying the police officers.

The convoy was racing from Rhamu to Banisa when they were attacked at Kormatto area, which is between Olla and Serman prompting an exchange of fire.

According to survivors, the driver of one of the buses lost control of it before it landed in a ditch as he tried to escape from the scene.

After the shootout, nine officers were injured before two succumbed to their injuries.

Officials said the attackers escaped with some of the weapons issued to the officers who had been injured.

Patrols were mounted in the area to get the attackers in vain. The buses usually leave as a convoy as part of efforts to address such attack fears.

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

This is the latest incident to happen in the area in a series that are staged by Al-Shabaab gunmen roaming there.

Governor Ali Roba had protested the trend of the incidents saying they had crippled the area economy.

Northeastern regional police boss Rono Bunei said the gang escaped to a nearby thicket and that teams of security agents had arrived there.

“We are pursuing them towards the Somalia-Kenya border where they escaped. They will be caught,” he said.

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

It emerged one of them had worked in the area as a mechanic for long before he vanished to Somalia to join the militants.

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

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.

Al-Shabaab insurgents have been attacking places in the region especially in Mandera and Garissa after breaching security zones, which left dozens of civilians and security officials dead or wounded.

They have been planting explosives on the routes used by the security agencies and attacking them.

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