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Police faulted over Al-Shabaab attacks in Garissa


Tuesday January 14, 2020

Garissa leaders have accused police of ignoring intelligence reports that could thwart attacks in the county by suspected Al-Shabaab militants.

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On Monday, three teachers at Kamuthe Primary School were killed in yet another attack, barely a week after four pupils were killed in Saretho in the same county.

Those were Mr Caleb Mutangia Mutua (28), Mr Titus Sasieka Mushindi (29) and Mr Samwel Mutua (29). Mr Joshua Mutua, 30, escaped with gunshot wounds on his leg.

Reports suggest that the militants spared female teachers and a nurse.
North-Eastern Regional Police Commander Paul Soi said the attackers targeted a communication mast and a police post in the 2.30am incident.

The militants partiality destroyed a Safaricom communication mast at Kamuthe market and burnt down the Kamuthe patrol base. All the officers present during the attack have been accounted for, with none injured.

“We are still trying to gather more information on what happened,” Mr Soi said, adding security forces were pursuing the attackers.

NO ACTION

But Garissa Woman Representative Anab Subow Gure claimed tall the attacks in the county were preceded by intelligence reports.

"It’s time the government took security matters with the seriousness they deserve. The attacks in Diiso, Saretho and Kamuthe were all preceded by credible information and intelligence from the public but the county security teams did not act as required,” Ms Gure said in a statement.

Garissa Governor Ali Korane also said in a statement that he was concerned about the re-emergence of Al-Shabaab and asked police to strengthen intelligence collection.

He added that he would call a consultative stakeholders meeting this week to discuss the insecurity challenges in the county.

STRATEGIES

Newly appointed North-Eastern Regional Co-ordinator Nicodemus Musyoki Ndalana told journalists that, together with the security team, they had come up with several strategies to minimise attacks.

He said their plans to fight terror won't succeed without the participation of all, including the residents, teachers, elders and leaders, so they will bring all parties on board.

“These terrorists have declared war and we will respond. We will pursue them intto their hiding places to ensure justice is served,” he said.

MANY ATTACKS

This is not the first time the Al-Qaeda-linked group is targeting teachers.

Two years ago, two teachers and the wife of one of them were killed in an attack at Qarsa Primary School in Wajir County.

The attack led to a mass exodus of teachers from the North-Eastern region, which almost crippled education.

In November 2014, at least 28 people were killed when suspected Al-Shabaab militants ambushed a Nairobi-bound bus in Mandera County. Among the victims were police officers, teachers and health workers.

Over the last six weeks, the insurgents have intensified attacks in Kenya, leaving at least 20 dead.

At least 10 attacks have been executed, among them the bus attacks, kidnappings and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks.

PROXIMITY

Despite the government's efforts to fight terrorism, Al-Shabaab militants have continued to stage attacks in the country's north without fear.

The region's proximity to Somalia, the home base of the militants, has made it an easy target.

The porous and vast border has also made it difficult for security forces to secure all entry points into the country.

Counties in the northern and the coastal regions have borne the brunt of the frequent attacks, most of which have targeted security personnel. Wajir, Garissa, Mandera and Lamu have been worst hit.

A few days ago, two security officers died when their vehicle ran over an IED in Khorof Kharar. A week earlier, two Special Forces (SF) officers died when the militants staged a similar attack in the same area.

RESHUFFLE

A few weeks ago, the government reshuffled all the senior officers who were operating in Wajir and Garissa in a move believed to have been as a result of the increased terror attacks in the region.

Former Wajir County Commissioner Loyford Kibaara was moved to Nyeri and replaced with Mr Narengo, while former County Commander Stephen Ng’etichwas transferred to Lamu, with Thomas Ngeywa taking over.

Former North-Eastern Regional Co-ordinator Mohamed Birik was also replaced with National Intelligence Service (NIS) Head of Border Control Frontier, Nicodemus Musyoki Ndalana.

Mr Birik, who was appointed in July 2018, was recalled back to Harambee House.

Recently, leaders from Wajir led by Wajir East MP Rashid Cassim, carried out a security sensitisation campaign in terror hotspots in an effort to prevent attacks.



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