THREE KILLED

Al Shabaab target police reservists in change of tack

Officer based in Holugho tells the Star the new wave of attacks targeting them has left many scared

In Summary

• In the last week, the militants have killed one reservist and the father of another.

• On February 5, the militants struck Sangole village in Holugho subcounty where they killed Farah Gaab, 70, before torching his house.

Relatives of Farah Hussein, a KPR officer who was shot dead on Tuesday night by suspected al Shabaab militants in Bula Golol, Fafi subcounty, sit outside their house.
ATTACK: Relatives of Farah Hussein, a KPR officer who was shot dead on Tuesday night by suspected al Shabaab militants in Bula Golol, Fafi subcounty, sit outside their house.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Al Shabaab militants are singling out and attacking Kenya police reservists, their families and destroying their homes and property in efforts to weaken the security apparatus in Northeastern. 

In the last week, the militants have killed one reservist and the father of another.

On February 5, the militants struck Sangole village in Holugho subcounty where they killed Farah Gaab, 70, before torching his house.

Gaab's son, Khalif Farah who is a police reservist was not at home at the time of the attack.

 
 

On Tuesday night, the militants shot and killed Farah Hussein, a KPR officer in Bula Golol, Fafi subcounty.

They made away with an AK47 rifle and several rounds of ammunition and ran off to Boni forest.

A group that had tried to attack a GSU camp was repulsed. Unconfirmed reports say that two of the militants were seriously injured.

A police reservist based in Holugho who spoke to the Star in confidence said that the new wave of attacks targeting them has left many of them scared.

“Surely with such kind of sustained attacks from the militants targeting us, who will not be scared? We are asking ourselves, who could be next?” he said.

The officer said he hoped that the security agencies will manage to contain the militants and avert further attacks.  

Northeastern regional commissioner Nicodemus Ndalana termed the attacks cowardly acts of desperation.

Ndalana told the Star on the phone that going forward his security team will work towards sealing the loopholes being exploited by the militants. 

“I want to assure Northeastern residents that we are determined to rid the region of the al Shabaab menace. I want to urge them to continue working closely with security agents,” Ndalana said.

 
 

He assured police reservists that the government will do everything possible to safeguard them, their families and properties.

“I want to thank the reservists for being patriotic and volunteering to work alongside other security forces in the fight against terror. We are not taking their sacrifice for granted,” he said.

Ndalana alleged that there was an involvement of locals in the attacks and urged wananchi to volunteer information on the individuals.

“The people who are involved in these attacks seem to know their targets and surroundings very well. The government is aware of this and will go for those working with the militants,” Ndalana said.

The renewed attacks have forced the region's three governors to convene meetings to come up with homegrown solutions to arrest the runaway insecurity.

Among the recommendations was to increase the number of reservists and arm the locals including the chiefs and their assistants.

Interior CS Fred Matiangi who received the recommendations thanked the leaders for joining hands with the government to end insecurity in the region.

(edited by O. Owino)