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Suspected Al-Shabaab militants cut off communication in Kenya's border town

Sunday January 7, 2018

The unknown number of gunmen are said to have used a Rocket Propelled Grenades to attack the Safaricom mast, Saturday January 6, 2018. /FILE

WAJIR, Kenya, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Suspected Al-Shabaab militants early Sunday destroyed a communication mast in Kutulo in northeast's Wajir County, paralyzing communication in the area.

Wajir County Police commander, Stephen Ngetich, confirmed that gunmen used a rocket propelled grenade to attack mobile service provider, Safaricom mast at 2 a.m. on Sunday before engaging in gunfight with four officers who were manning it.

"The militants wanted to cut off communications in the area between El Wak and Kutulo and prevent reinforcements by security officers to enable them carry out terrorist attacks in the area. But we thwarted this," Ngetich said.

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The police commander however confirmed that none of the security officers whom the insurgents engaged in the fight was injured and they had all been traced. He added the attackers escaped into a bush.

"All our officers are safe for now but the mast was completely burnt down in the incident," Ngetich said.

He said a major manhunt had been launched in the area for the suspects who fled in the bush.

Wajir County had enjoyed relative calm for the past four years.

The police commander warned that they will not allow criminals to disrupt peace and tranquility which was returning to the remote town after attacks witnessed in 2013.

Northeastern Kenya has suffered grenade and gun attacks in recent years since Kenya took its troops to Somalia to fight the Al-Shabaab militia group in October 2011.

Several attacks believed to have been carried out by Al-Shabaab have occurred in Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa and Dadaab districts of northeastern Kenya even as the military reports gains against the Islamist group by capturing their military bases and killing scores of them.

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