Suspected al Shabaab militants hijacked two cars between Omar Jillo and Lafey in Mandera on Tuesday as voters were being transported to polling stations.
North Eastern regional commissioner Mohamud Saleh identified the vehicles as a Pobox and Land Cruiser.
Nobody was injured or kidnapped during the incident at about 6am, Saleh told The star on phone.
“They were only interested in the vehicles. Reports that they also hijacked a bus full of voters are not true. Kenyans, especially those on social media, should stop posting untrue information because they may end up causing a lot of tension.”
It is said one of the vehicles had a South Sudan number place.
Al Shabaab has not claimed responsibility for this and a few other attacks in some parts of the country. But the terror group has carried out many ambushes and left police and civilians dead or injured.
The commissioner said he will stay in touch with top election officials and security chiefs to ensure voting goes on smoothly.
“All polling stations, including those at the borders in Mandera, Wajir and Garissa, have opened and the exercise is going on smoothly. We don’t expect any hiccups.”
-The Star|STEPHEN ASTARIKO
Police are offering a Sh2 million bounty for five al Shabaab suspects believed to be behind the attacks in Lamu.
Among them are two brothers, Salad Tari Gufu and Gufu Tari Gufu, who may have been involved in the recent abduction and shooting of Public Works PS Mariam El Maawy.
Police said the two left for Somalia in 2013 to fight for the terror group. Salad is said to have helped his younger brother Tari sneak back into Kenya to fight in Boni.
Salad also reportedly opened a studio in his Marsabit home, which sold VCDs and DVDs that promoted radicalisation.
The other three on the bounty list are Abdikadir Mohamed, Suleiman Irungu Mwangi and Mohamed Tajir. Police have described them as armed and dangerous.
Suleiman is said to have a number of aliases, including Habib, Maalim Zakariya and Jureij.
They are believed to have been dispatched from Somalia to counter an anti-terror operation declared by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his tour of Lamu county on Monday.
Lamu has experienced increased attacks by the Somali militant group over the last month.
On July 5, the militants engaged in a day-long battle with Kenyan security forces in Boni forest.
A day later, the terrorists abducted the Public Works PS and five others at Milihoi area on Lamu-Mpeketoni highway at about 3pm. They were driven into Boni Forest.
Uhuru condemned the attack saying the government will not tolerate them.
“If they kill our police and our people, we shall do exactly that. We will deal with them in the same manner. No one has the right to take lives apart from God. We will finish them. The only way to put out fire its by fire,” he said on Monday.
-The Star|CALVIN ONSARIGO
Three schools in Witu division, Lamu county have been unable to resume learning for the last two weeks for fear of being attacked by Al-Shabaab militants.
Over 600 pupils of Pandanguo, Kakathe and Maleli primary schools have not gone back to school after Alshabaab destroyed a school in their recent attack in the area.
According to Witu sub-county education officer, James Akello, the schools were closed immediately after the terror attack on Pandanguo police post last week that left four police officers dead.
Pandanguo primary school has a total of 196 pupils, Kakathe has 220 while Maleli has 176 pupils total.
“My office had to immediately withdraw the more than 20 teachers who were serving in the schools over concern for their security but they would be posted back once security is restored”, he said.
Akello said he was hopeful that the schools would be re-opened next week following security measures that had been put in place.
“Three schools have so far closed down due to fear of being attacked by Alshabaab. We had to take them off but will have them back once security is guaranteed. Maybe next week the schools might re-open, let’s wait and see,”Akello said.
Parents have also expressed concern over the safety of their children in the schools and constant disruptions of their learning due to the constant Alshabaab raids.
They urged the national government to establish a permanent KDF camp at Pandanguo.
Some parents in Pandanguo said they are planning to transfer their children to the Witu primary school which is over 21 kilometres away.
“We have class eight pupils who need to sit KCPE this year. Schools are closed and that means our children are missing out a lot on learning. Time is running out and the exams are almost here,” said Pandanguo elder Adan Golja.
-The Star| CHETI PRAXIDES
Al Shabaab militants have reportedly seized a remote military base from KDF soldiers serving in the African Union force during an attack early this morning.
The group, which once ruled much of Somalia, wants to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu and drive out the peacekeepers made up of soldiers from Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia and other African nations.
“Two mujahideen rammed suicide car bombs into the base in Kulbiyow town before storming it. After hand-to-hand fighting, we have taken over the base,” said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman.
It is said Kenyan troops are currently in defence mode as the number of casualties is currently unknown.
More to fol
Al Shabaab militants cut off the right hands of two alleged thieves in a region of Somalia controlled by the al Qaeda-affiliated group, a senior al Shabaab official said on Thursday.
Two men, Farah Bile Mand Quri Osman, admitted at a trial to stealing money from a shop and a judge ordered the right hands of both to be cut off, the al Shabaab governor of the Galgadud region, Sheikh Hassan Ali, told Reuters.
The order was carried out on Wednesday, he said.
The terror movement has been fighting for years to drive out African Union peacekeepers, topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government and impose its brand of sharia (Islamic law) in the Horn of Africa country.
In areas under its control, al Shabaab has carried out executions, floggings and single-limb amputations after summary trials on charges including theft or espionage.
The terror group once held large swathes of Somalia including Mogadishu before being ousted from the capital in 2011 and losing further ground, though they continue to pose a formidable threat with bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya.
Kenya’s military forms part of the African Union peacekeeping force that props up Somalia’s central government.
Al Shabaab has sought to disrupt Somalia’s protracted parliamentary elections – part of efforts to rebuild the fractured nation after decades of civil war. The three-month vote is due to end on December 29.
Six people have this morning been killed in a suspected Al-Shabaab attack on a residential plot in Bulla public works in Mandera Town.
The incident happened at about 2am as the tenants were asleep.
Those affected were non locals. Police said the attackers shot at the victims randomly after they had broken into the plot.
The gang used a grenade to break the entrance of the plot before they shot at those who were sleeping in there. They escaped soon after the incident.
Police said there were 33 people at the plot at the time of the attack and that one was seriously injured and 25 others rescued.
Two people were still missing hours later.
Residents said police response was swift and that the attackers were heavily armed.
Mandera governor Ali Roba termed the incident a sad attack.
A 24-year-old businessman, who operates a car hire service, has been jailed for 20 years after being convicted of being a member of the outlawed Al Shabaab terrorist group.
Abdirizack Muktar Edow, who is the owner of a vehicle that was allegedly found with eight hand grenades in Mandera Town on May 31,2014 was found guilty on 7 counts of terrorism. Senior Principal Magistrate Joyce Ngandani said that the prosecution proved it’s case against the man.
According to the DPP, Edow was in constant communication with an Al-Shabaab linkman identified as Sheikh Hassan on May 3, a day before the vehicle was intercepted at a roadblock in Mandera.
“It is clear that sheikh black was not in possession of grenades for innocent reasons, but they were heading to carry out a terrorist act. He was found with pictures and videos of Osama Bin Laden, Samantha Leithwaithe” she said.
He was charged with sending invitations, allegedly found on his cell phone, for a radicalization meeting scheduled for February 2 at the Masjid Musa ”to further the cause of a terror group.”
Police On Tuesday arrested a former GSU officer, who is among the most wanted Al Shabaab members and behind the killing of Nyumba Kumi officials and reformed returnees in Kwale.
Alfan Rashid Mtsumi alia Juma Mwakambirwa was arrested and a hand grenade recovered from his house after months of being trailed.
Kwale OCPD Patrick Oduma he was arrested within Kombani area and led detectives to his house in Ukunda where they recovered the grenade.
According to reports, Mtsuma retired from GSU in the rank of a constable after serving for 12 years in the most disciplined police force.
Police believed he was recruited to join al shabaab cells where he assisted in training and killing of state informers and security agents in Coast region.
“We are still interrogating him before he is arraigned in court, we believe he will assist detectives with information to arrest other key al shabab members on the run.”said Oduma.
Mtsuma was among eight wanted terror suspects whom their photos and names were circulated by police for allegedly terrorizing the public within the coastal region on May 30.
His accomplices includes Ali Haji Kolagwa, Ali Salim Mwagutsi, Said Athman Mjinga and Said Hassan Seti, Ali Hamisi Mwaligulu, Ali Musa Mwagutsi, and Hamisi Musa Mwaligulu .
One person is feared dead after Al Shabaab militia men ambushed a civilian vehicle in Mandera County on Saturday evening. The Star reports.
Reports indicated that the ambush occurred between Fino and Sheikh Barow area.
A tweet from Red Cross says that the private car had six people and was on it’s way to Lafey before it was attacked.
The attack comes a day after 21 people were admitted at Elwak subcounty hospital after they were allegedly beaten during a military operation on Friday morning.
The operation was conducted in Harwale Village, which is is alleged to be a hideout of al Shabaab members.
However, KDF spokesman David Obonyo said no military operation was conducted in Mandera that day.