COUNTY UNDER SEIGE

Mandera al Shabaab attacks avoidable

Mandera has been turned into a battlefield for foreign forces by national government.

In Summary
  • All other concerns have been set aside at the expense of foreign interests.
  • This is the most pathetic way to run a security operation.
Mandera county assembly members in Mandera town on March 4, 2020.
SOMALIA WAR: Mandera county assembly members in Mandera town on March 4, 2020.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

On March 11, 2020, we suffered several attacks at one spot in Jabibar between Bambo and Rhamu town of Mandera county. The incidences occurred as follows:-

First, a Land Cruiser belonging to Takaba police station heading to Mandera ran over an improvised explosive device planted in a road. Luckily, no one was hurt but the vehicle was extensively damaged.

Shortly thereafter, a Makkah bus travelling from Nairobi to Mandera was ambushed at the same place and the passengers ordered to disembark. A non-local mechanic was taken hostage and the rest released after some of the passengers were beaten up.

 

Third: Two vehicles heading to Mandera (one belonging to the Public Service Management executive and a Land Cruiser ferrying miraa) were attacked. The occupants escaped unhurt. 

After a while, a lorry believed to be carrying vegetables was stopped at the same site. The driver and turnboy, who are both non-locals, were taken away. The lorry was burnt to ashes.  

These incidences happened in an area where we have plenty of security forces, in fact, they are just 20 minutes away. Al Shabaab attackers had a field day carrying out their heinous acts for more than three hours undeterred by security forces.

If al Shabaab fighters came into the county in uniform and in strange-looking vehicles, they will just travel right to their target undeterred by our security forces and carry out massacres. And we wouldn’t know who is who.  

While the government has provided all the support we asked for in terms of security personnel, it seems we are not making any progress at all. The attackers seem not to care about the presence or absence of security officers. They are executing every attack with precision, undeterred. 

Currently, we have foreign troops from Jubaland moving up and down these roads. My only question remains: Who knows the identity of these large groups of armed fighters? The public says every foreign troop-carrying vehicles on these roads belong to Jubaland forces.

So if al Shabaab fighters came into the county in uniform and in strange-looking vehicles, they will just travel right to their target undeterred by our security forces and carry out massacres. And we wouldn’t know who is who.  

This is the most pathetic way to run a security operation. Sadly, Mandera has been turned into a battlefield for foreign forces by our own national government. All other concerns have been set aside at the expense of foreign interests. The interests of these foreign entities seem to have superseded that of Kenyans in Mandera.  

As at now, we do not know whether the abducted passengers are still alive or have been executed by the foreign fighters. These attacks could have been avoided. We continue to appeal to our security officers to respond to intelligence shared with them by members of the public to avert such attacks

Governor, Mandera county