Thursday, June 13, 2013
Chief says they received intelligence reports that the militia were planning to strike but did not take them seriously.
The chief of the border location of Damajaley in Daadab District in
Northeastern Kenya on Saturday described for the first time the grizzly
details of the attack in his location where five people were killed.
On May 27, over 50 heavily armed al Shabaab militiamen carried out
simultaneous raids at the Damajaley AP Camp and the Abdi Sugow Rural
Border Patrol Unit post. They killed three civilians and two policemen
and abducted two administration police officers who are still believed
to be in their custody.
Speaking at his hospital bed at the Garissa Provincial General
Hospital where he is currently admitted, Omar Khalif said the events of
that fateful day are still fresh in his mind.
The long serving administrator, who was at first reluctant to open up
for fear of being targeted by the al Shabaab or their sympathisers,
says the local authorities had received intelligence reports that the
militia were planning to strike but did not take the reports with the
seriousness it deserved.
"There were rumours that these assailants had been spotted crossing
into the country from Somalia using donkey carts, but because of lack
substantial evidence, we treated the reports as mere hearsay and life
went on as usual until that day when they struck my village," Omar says.
He says the militia, who came clad in full uniform of the defunct
Transitional Federal Government soldiers, surrounded the village while a
group went straight to the camps which are 7km apart.
"I was seated in my office which is located right outside the AP camp
unwinding after a long day when suddenly the serene atmosphere was cut
short by sounds of gunfire," Omar recalls.
"In the confusion, I immediately stepped out of my office and started
running. The militias were determined to kill me and they ran after me
shouting at me saying I was an infidel collaborator. One bullet hit my
right leg but I soldiered on up to a nearby house where I dragged myself
in and took refuge under the bed."
He says the militiamen, who reigned terror on
the residents for over five hours, came looking for him in his house
but luckily he was hiding in a friend's house.
Omar says there was confusion and chaos in the village as residents scampered to save their dear lives.
He condemns the action of al Shabaab to seize, parade and summarily
behead a primary school teacher while forcing the villagers to watch the
"The impact that ungodly action is going to have on our children is
monstrous and I only hope and pray it will not negatively impact on
their morals when they grow up," Omar says.
"Since that incident took place, I have had sleepless nights; I can't
get the images out of my head. I feel traumatised and I keep waking up
in the middle of the night thinking that the assailants are coming for
me. I don't know for how long this will continue," Omar said.
His fears are enhanced by reports that there is another major
impending attack targeting security installations within the county by
al Shabaab remnants.
On Mondaylast week, area MP Dr Mohamed Dahiye spoke of an impending
attack in Garissa County by people believed to have carried out the
Damajaley attacks and who have since then been roaming freely in the
area after the government pulled out all its security forces following
"Just like the other time when the militia issued a warning two weeks
before they struck, this time too they have done the same. The
government should better treat the threats with the seriousness they
deserve otherwise they will be caught flat footed again."
In a quick rejoinder, Dadaab DC Albert Kimathi refuted claims that
the government had pulled security personnel along the border, saying if
anything, they had posted more officers to the area.
"Every administration police post along the border has 30 armed
officers led by a sergeant at every camp and they are all well equipped
with enough vehicles at their disposal," Kimathi said.
Recently, the government gave out hotline numbers 0788818162 and
0711338826 to be used by residents to tip the security agencies
concerning security threats.
Garissa county has borne the brunt of
retaliatory attacks by al shabaab since Kenyan troops crossed over into
Somalia in late 2011 following a series of attacks and kidnappings in
The violence dates back to October 2011 when Kenya Defense Forces
entered Somalia to fight the terrorist group in their territory.
Since then, dozens of people have lost their lives including police
officers, military officers, government officials and civilians.
The killing of 10 people at a local hotel prompted the visit by a
high powered delegation of top security chiefs led by Internal Security
PS Mutea Iringo and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo.
They promised to make sure that security is restored in the region.
The government further pledged to offer a reward of between Sh50,000 and
Sh100,000 to anyone who would provide information that will lead to
arrest of criminals behind the killings.
To date, not a single individual has availed information to the
security agencies or identified the criminals behind the spate of