The ragtag Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militia remains a security threat, with active cells in Kenya’s northeastern counties although its capacity to stage regular attacks has been diminished, the Nation can reveal. The organisation has in the past few weeks focused on targets in the border regions of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa where it has killed police officers and soldiers with home-made bombs. The militants’ areas of operation include Sheikh Barrow, Arabia, Fino, Damasa in Lafey, Alungo, Warankara, Falama, Elrhamu and Garsesala in Mandera County.
And in Wajir County they are active in Kotulo, Mansa, Boji, Diif, Konton and Khorof Harar. In Garissa, areas prone to terror attacks include Liboi, Kulan, Hulugho, Bodhai, Boni forest, Galmagala, Amuma and Hamey. The Yumbis Border Patrol base in Garissa was the latest to be attacked, last Friday. Police, with the help of special forces, killed three of the attackers and repulsed the terrorists. “Security agencies remain on high alert to suppress and counter Al-Shabaab’s heightened activity along our common border with Somalia,” said National Police Service Director of Communication Charles Wahong’o in a statement. A security alert seen by the Nation had warned of impending attacks in parts of Mandera and Wajir towns. In a separate incident on the same day, an unidentified man was shot dead after he attempted to snatch a rifle from a soldier keeping guard at the Wajir army base. No documents were found on him.
“That is not a problem in Wajir alone but along the entire border from Mandera down to Lamu, but we are very much aware and doing what is expected of us,” said Wajir County Police Commander Stephen Ngetich. A senior security officer said Al-Shabaab could be retreating due to heightened operations in their perceived territories. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), a UN-endorsed force of 22,000 soldiers, has succeeded in restricting Al-Shabaab’s operations in Somalia, forcing them to change tack and use local cells instead of crossing borders to stage attacks. AMISOM troops-contributing countries — Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia — are said to be vulnerable to Al-Shabaab attacks. Recently, suspected Al-Shabaab militants abducted Cuban doctors Assel Herera Correa and Landy Rodriguez, who were working in Mandera. The two are yet to be found, with the government only indicating that everything will be done to secure their freedom……