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Al-Shabaab suspects hijack vehicle in northern Kenya
Xinhua
Saturday, June 23, 2012

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Suspected Al-Shabaab sympathizers on Thursday night hijacked a public service vehicle that was in the convoy of other vehicles escorting a bride to her house in Liboi town close to the Somalia border.

The incident which took place at around 21:00 local time left Liboi residents with a rude shock as panic grieved the entire Liboi town and its environs.

Eye witnesses told Xinhua on Friday a group of three veiled gang men wielding Ak47 rifles stopped the vehicle that was leading the convoy ordering the driver and the passengers to step down as they took control of it.

"The whole incident happened within a whisker of an eye that we could not take cover as we were all met with fear by this terror group that took control through pointing guns on our face, they then made a quick u-turn before speeding off towards the Daghaley refugee camp in Daadab," the visibly shocked driver told Xinhua.

He said the thugs who later called using one of the three phones that they had stolen asking the owner of the vehicle to pick it from the refugee camp.

The owner of the stolen vehicle, and the local civic leader who did not want to be named said that he first reported the incident at the Liboi police station but the vehicle could not be immediately traced at that time as "they had no idea of its whereabouts".

"I am very shocked at the level of insecurity at the border town of Liboi as gun men carjack innocent civilians at will, causing fear and panic to our residents," said the civic leader.

According to a senior police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, the vehicle had a Somalia registration number which could have attracted the gun men to carjacking it.

Regional deputy police commander Philip Ndolo described the incident as a normal occurrence and could not link it Al-Shabaab militia group.

Security in the region has been jeopardized by suspected TFG deserters who terrorize area residents at will.

Two weeks ago suspected Transitional Federal Government army deserters were gunned down by police at Nuno in Garissa County. One of them was wearing a uniform bearing TFG serial numbers.

The move comes as hundreds of Kenyan security forces, backed by armoured vehicles and helicopters have been deployed near the border with Somalia, amid concerns the Islamist Al-Shabaab militia was preparing for fresh attack.

Al-Shabaab militants have vowed to attack Nairobi after the east African nation which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the signing of the federal charter for Somalia in 2005, invaded Somalia to flush out the insurgents it blamed for kidnappings of tourists.

Security in key towns in Kenya has been put on a high alert following Kenya’s military operations in Somalia which sparked threats from the Al-Shabaab group that it will retaliate deep in Kenya.


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