WARNINGS IGNORED

Terror attack kills 3 brothers and fellow pupil

Saretho Boarding Primary School closed until further notice

In Summary

• Three brothers and another student were killed. Three pupils and a security officer were injured

•Ccounty director of education said on Wednesday the board decided to close the school until further notice.

 

Police assess the damage caused by al Shabaab militants to a Safaricom mast in Saretho, Dadaab subcounty, Garissa, on Tuesday
ATTACK: Police assess the damage caused by al Shabaab militants to a Safaricom mast in Saretho, Dadaab subcounty, Garissa, on Tuesday
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Saretho Boarding Primary School in Dadaab subcounty has been closed indefinitely after a deadly Tuesday morning attack by al Shabaab militants.

Three brothers and another pupil were killed. Three pupils and a security officer were injured in the raid in Garissa county. 

A multi-agency team managed killed two of the militants in the 2am raid.

The dead pupils were identified as three brothers — Abdifatah Mohamed, aged 16 Standard 7; Suleiman Mohamed, aged 15, Standard 7; and Abdinajib Mohamed, 14, Grade 4. Also killed was Abdirahman Ibrahim 15, Standard 6.

Three pupils and a security officer were injured by the militants.

Speaking to the press in his office on Wednesday, county director of education Khalif Issack said the board decided to close the school until further notice and urged the parents to wait for further communication.

“No learning will take place until proper security arrangements are put into place. We will sit down with the security officials to ensuring proper security arrangements are put into place,” he said.

Abakaile MCA Mohamed Sheikh Ali on Tuesday faulted the government security forces for allegedly not acting on intelligence reports that could have prevented the attack on the Saretho Boarding School.

Talking to the press in Garissa, Mohamed said there were enough intelligence reports indicating that al Shabaab was planning to attack Saretho Safaricom masts.

“We shared these reports with the relevant security teams and agencies but they failed to act. In fact, attack on Saretho was top on the list,” Mohamed said.

We are ready day and night to work with government. But when we volunteer crucial information and nobody acts, what do we do? The government must wake up and act fast before the situation gets worse.
MCA Mohamed Sheikh Ali
 

“This is not the first time we have shared intelligence report with security agencies. When floods were displacing our people we told the government but they didn’t act. We told them about the locust invasion and they kept mum. The locals had to use traditional methods to drive away from the deadly insects,” he added.

The MCA said that the leadership in the county had always committed themselves to work with security agents in getting rid of al Shabaab from the region.

“We are ready day and night to work with the government. But when we volunteer such crucial information and nobody acts, then what do we do? The government must wake up and act fast before the situation gets worse,” he said.

Mohamed called the killings  "a cowardly act by the terrorists".

“Taking away the lives of young and innocent children is cowardly and unacceptable,” he said.

“As leaders, we strongly condemn the act and urge the government security agents to pursue the killers and bring them to book,” the MCA said.

Of two militant groups, one headed to the Safaricom mast and the other went to the nearby police post.

When the second group found that the security officers they were targeting had retreated they went to the teachers’ quarters used by non-locals with the hope they had reported for duty.

One of the victims who requested anonymity said the militants asked the pupils to open the door and because they were frightened refused to open it.

They opened fire, punching holes in the iron sheet roofs. By the time the guns went silent, three pupils laid dead. One of the victims succumbed to his injuries three hours later.

The two rooms were littered with the pupils’ uniforms stained with blood and blood-soaked into the floor. More than 100 used cartridges were collected for ballistic examination.

Security officer recovered two AK-47

rifles and 87 rounds of ammunition from the slain militants. Also recovered were eight undetonated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

(Edited by V. Graham)