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Al-Shabaab kill Safaricom driver

The Standard Digital
Monday, July 30, 2012

One driver was shot dead in an attack by suspected Al-Shabaab militants on a car belonging to a mobile phone dealer in Mandera.

The attackers  later escaped with the Safaricom Landcruiser after overpowering four police officers who were escorting the vehicle on Sunday night.

Police said the driver succumbed to  injuries minutes after the attack in Arabia area by about 50 heavily armed gunmen.

There were police officers and a technician who were also on board the vehicle at the time of the attack.

One of the survivors told police the gang sprayed them with bullets deflating the vehicle tyres before shooting at the driver as they raced to attend to a mast in the area.

The officers jumped out with the injured driver and ran away for a short in a hail of bullets, the survivor told The Standard Digital.

North Eastern police boss Philip Tuimur said the officers and the technician escaped on foot after realizing the driver had died.

“The body of the driver has been discovered in the area and the attackers apparently escaped with the vehicle,” said the police boss.

Other locals said the gang attacked and robbed a lorry of valuables and 50 litres of petrol before escaping in the ordeal that lasted hours.

“They took their time to repair the deflated vehicle and later robbed occupants of a lorry that was passing there of cash and petrol before driving away.”

The attack is the latest in a series that have been occurring in the area since Kenyan troops crossed to Somalia to hunt the militants.

Police have effected several changes aimed at boosting operations in the area. Early this month, two police officers were attacked and injured in same area.

The attack is the fourth in the area in a month. Previous attacks left one schoolgirl dead and locals protesting.

An intelligence brief shared amongst security agents in the area indicated the attackers were members of Al-Shabaab. According to the brief the attackers had left Godondowe in Somalia and were dressed in Transitional Federal Government troops uniforms.

“They plan to strike Lafey, Arabia, Mandera, Elwak and Burahache at ago. The militia will be dressed in TFG uniforms as a disguise and will use both explosives and AK47 rifles to cause serious impact. They target vital installations and government officials,” read part of the report.

The incident came days after gunmen stormed into two churches in Garissa Town and killed 18 people before injuring more than 60 attacks in simultaneous attacks.

Police are yet to make any arrest so far and say they are pursuing several leads into the same.

Acting internal security minister Yusuf Haji said they are sending 700 additional security agents and 14 vehicles to help in addressing the problem of insecurity.


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