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Panic at Kenya-Somalia border as Shabaab militants sighted

Monday December 14, 2020

Thick smoke billows during al Shabaab attack on Camp Simba KDF-US military base in Lamu on Sunday. Manda Airstrip was hit.
SHABAAB RAID: Thick smoke billows during al Shabaab attack on Camp Simba KDF-US military base in Lamu on Sunday. Manda Airstrip was hit.Image: COURTESY

Dozens of Somalia’s al Shabaab militants have crossed into Kenya, causing fear among residents of Amuma and Hemey regions of Garissa county.

Shabaab militants often target security officials and non-Somalis in their attacks, and police are on high alert to deal with any incidents. 

A security source said they had credible intelligence that a leader of the militants, Maulid Abdi Hussein from Sedahgoseh in Somalia, had preached at a local mosque in Degathe and vowed to cross to Kenya to coordinate attacks on Kenyans.

The source said Hussein preached in the mosques on Saturday. 

About 40 militants armed with AK-47s, three PKM machine guns and seven rocket-propelled grenade launchers fired several rounds in the air before crossing over in three separate groups after the prayers. 

According to police reports, one group used Hamey route, another one Amuma and the third went via Homojo.

Police believe the groups may already have been assigned targets which include communication masts, probing camps and implanting explosives on the roads. Another group could be a decoy to distract the local officials.

“Security personnel are urged to remain vigilant in their areas of operation following intercepts that also indicate the probability of attacks on security personnel and installations along the border,” read a police dispatch to local officials.

Operations were intensified in the area as part of efforts to deter any planned attacks in the area, said local police boss Rono Bunei.

The border region has borne the brunt of repeated attacks from the militants. 

There were fears an attack is planned in the area as that is how the attackers act before staging a bigger one.

“They usually bring down masts to hinder communication ahead of a bigger planned attack,” said a local security official who asked not to be named.

The area is near the Somalia border and the militants usually cross and stage attacks before escaping back.

Shabaab insurgents have been attacking places in the region especially in Mandera and Garissa counties after breaching security zones. Scores of civilians and security officials have been left dead and wounded.

Kenyan troops are in Somalia to pursue and suppress the activities of the insurgents. 


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