Somalia’s al-Shabab enters Kenyan village

Al-Shabab militants have been giving sermons to villagers in Kenya

bbc

 Somalia’s militant Islamist group al-Shabab has entered a remote village in north-eastern Kenya, despite the  fact that it is only about 15km (nine miles) from a military base, residents say.

Hundreds of people have now fled Warankara and schools have shut, they said.

This is only the second time that al-Shabab is known to have occupied territory in Kenya.

The al-Qaeda-linked group has its headquarters in neighbouring Somalia.

The BBC Somali Service’s Mohammed Mohammed says al-Shabab appears to be implementing its threat to “take the war” to Kenya.

Last month, it invaded Yumbis town, also in the north-east, before withdrawing without a fight.

Residents in Warankara, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, told the BBC that the militants have been patrolling the village.

People were scared, but the gunmen have not harmed anyone, they said.

The militants had also given sermons in the village, residents added.

Deadliest attack

A senator for the area, Bilow Adan Kero, told the BBC Somali Service that he had received similar reports from the village.

He urged the government to take urgent steps to curb the insurgency.

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Kenyan security forces have been criticized in their response to al-Shabab attacks

Residents said the security forces have not intervened to drive out the militants.

Warankara is in Kenya’s Mandera County, close to the military camp in Dambas town and the border with Somalia.

In April, al-Shabab militants launched an assault on a university in the north-eastern town of Garissa, killing 148 people in what was the deadliest ever attack by the group.

The insurgents have stepped up attacks in Kenya since losing key cities and towns in Somalia to an African Union (AU) force, which includes Kenyan troops.

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