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Al Shabaab militants rob bus crew, passengers in Wajir attack

Friday January 15, 2021

FILE - A man looks at a bus which was ambushed by gunmen in the Nyongoro area of Lamu County, near the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya, Jan. 2, 2020.

Suspected al Shabaab militants robbed a bus conductor and passengers in an attack in Tarbaj, Wajir County.

Witnesses said the Almkaram bus was headed for Nairobi from Mandera on Tuesday afternoon when the gunmen armed with rifles and Rifle Propelled Grenades stopped it at Darkut area.

The gunmen fired to the air once and ordered all passengers on board to alight before separating men from women.

Witnesses said the gang asked if there were any civil servants and non locals on board.

After failing to find any of the targets, they robbed the passengers of their food  and cash.

They also grabbed Sh40,000 from the bus conductor while warning him against carrying non locals on the bus.

Police said another gang kidnapped three Kenyans in Banisa area, Mandera county.

The victims were traveling in a four wheel drive car when they were attacked by gunmen. Police arrived at the scene moments later and engaged the gunmen in vain.

Locals said the victims are still held hostage in the area. It is not clear if the terrorists have crossed with them to the nearby Somalia border.

There have been fears of attacks in the area bordering Somalia in the past weeks.

North Eastern Regional police boss Rono Bunei said they had enhanced operations in the area to deter any plans by the terrorists. “We continue to urge for cooperation from the locals to be able to address this menace even as we do our bit,” he said.

The terrorists have been targeting security installations in the area in a series of incidents destroying them.

In December last year, al Shabaab militant group abducted and beheaded a chief in Wajir county in a macabre attack.

They had abducted a group of local security officials together with the chief before they released them and later killed the administrator.

Al Shabaab militants have been roaming the area in the past two weeks threatening large scale attacks. There are fears of more such attacks after dozens of the militants crossed from Somalia to Kenya in Garissa border.

The gang was in three groups when they crossed into Kenya with an intention of attacks on security officials. The border region has borne the brunt of repeated attacks.


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