KDF, border police unit on the spot after Al-Shabaab hijack miraa vehicle in Mandera

Security officers patrol the Kenya-Somalia border. Leaders from Mandera County have decried what they term as poor border security following the latest hijacking of a vehicle carrying miraa by suspected Al-Shabaab militants. The vehicle is believed to have been driven to Somalia. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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Members of the Mandera County Assembly have cried foul over what they term as the reluctance of Kenya military based at Damasa to act after vehicle carrying miraa was hijackedby armed men from neighbouring Somalia.

The vehicle, according to Fino Ward representative Saad Sheikh Ahmed, was on its way to Mandera Town when gunmen numbering more than twenty waylaid it and drove it towards Kenya-Somalia border.

He said after driving for a few meters, the vehicle over turned due to the poor state of the road and rains that have been pounding the area recently.

The MCA and his Waranakara counterpart Mr Abdirashid Maalim Osman told the Nation that the hijackers then intercepted a bus coming from Lafey and ordered the passengers to put hijacked vehicle back on the road.

“The incidents happened at Sheikh Barow the same spot they hijacked three other vehicles last year. What we are wondering is where the KDF soldiers stationed at Damasa on the Somalia side were doing all this time,” said the Fino MCA.

He said the county commissioner had sent police officers who were still pursuing the gunmen believed to be from Al-Shabaab militants from neighbouring Somalia.

“These people had a lot of time to hijack the miraa vehicle and then wait for the bus from Lafey… the government is actually taking the security of Kenyans casually,” he said.

SLOW RESPONSE

The leaders decried the slow response by government officials anytime there is an attack in the area from suspected Al-Shabaab militants.

Warankara Ward MCA Abdirashid Osman urged the Cabinet Secretary for Interior to recruit police officers from the area who can effectively engage attackers.

He at the same time commended the county Administration Police commander whom he said responded swiftly following reports of the hijacking even without the help of KDF and the border patrol police unit.

“It is very unfortunate that the incidents happened a stone-throw away from where the KDF are stationed but they never gave any assistance even as the attackers took time to waylay another vehicle and force the passengers to help them,” he said.

Mr Osman said the government should re-deploy the military and the border police officers to other areas because they are “only protecting their camps” instead of providing necessary protection to people and their property.

“We demand the re-deployment of the military and the border police unit because they are doing nothing. How can attackers by pass them and hijack vehicles at will?” he posed.

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