Tuesday, October 16, 2012
GARISSA, Kenya, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Suspected Al-Shabaab militants shot dead an engineer working for the Kenyan mobile phone firm, Safaricom, early Tuesday in the northern part of the East African country.
The insurgents ambushed Patrobas Nyamboga as he was carrying out regular maintenance on Safaricom's base stations in Kulan area, about 50 km from Liboi town near the border with Somalia.
The divisional police commander, Abdalla Shariff, confirmed the incident saying no suspect had been arrested.
"As for now we cannot disclose the identity of the deceased because his next of keen has not been informed. Our officers are already on the ground pursuing the bandits and hope we will catch up with them with time," Shari told Xinhua by telephone on Tuesday.
Safaricom spokesperson Victoria Kaigai also confirmed the incident, saying the deceased was ambushed on Tuesday morning as he was carrying out regulator maintenance of the mobile firm's stations in northern Kenya.
"Yes, Safaricom can confirm that our sub-contractor was killed this morning in an ambush by unknown gunmen. Nyamboga was delivering fuel to one of our stations in Kulan near Liboi border. We are condoling with his family at this difficult time," Kaigai told Xinhua by telephone.
The deceased was in the company of four other staff members on his way to a Safaricom mask to refuel it.
The suspected attackers who were estimated to be about 20 ambushed the vehicle the Safaricom crew were travelling in before shooting indiscriminately and in the process shot Nyamboga in the head.
"The terrorists then shot the vehicles' tyre making it immobile and then proceeded to rob them off their valuables before escaping on foot," said one of the witnesses who did not want to be identified.
Ironically, the shooting came just an hour after security forces engaged in a fierce gun fight with the militias a few km from where the shooting took place. Nobody was injured in the four- hour shootout.
"Security had been enhanced at the area in a bid to apprehend those terrorizing citizens along the way," Shariff said.
"It is unfortunate that many lives have been lost along the Dadaab-Liboi road in the hands of bandits. We are appealing to citizens to cooperate with security agents and offer crucial information that will assist us in apprehending the suspects behind this ugly incident, as hiding them will be aggravating the matter," he added.
Meanwhile, Sharif said that no person has been arrested in connection to Monday's killing of the 40-year-old Mahat Muhumed Said, who was the security committee leader at the Ifo refugee camp.
Northern Kenya, particularly Garissa County, has of late witnessed a spate of grenade and gun attack on innocent Kenyans, refugees and the police over the past two weeks which are seen as retaliatory attacks from the embattled Al-Shabaab militias in Somalia since the capture of the port city of Kismayo.
More than 20 security officers and scores of civilians have been killed, many maimed and property worth millions of dollars destroyed in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Nairobi and Mombasa, since the Kenyan soldiers entered Somalia in a bid to forestall threats of Al-Qaida linked Al-Shabaab.
Kenya says the deployment of troops in the southern regions have so far helped to prevent the movement of explosives to the strategic towns of Husingo and Badhade, the conduit points for the improvised explosive devices, the counterfeit electronics and contraband sugar smuggling across the region.
Military officials said these regions are crucial to the stabilization of Kenya's coastal and northeastern provinces, which have been targeted by attackers preying on soft civilian targets.