By Cyrus Ombati
Wednesday June 9, 2021
Officers were escorting two buses from Rhamu to Banissa when gunmen opened fire on them
TERROR: One of the buses that was sprayed with bullets during an attack in Mandera on June 7, 2021 Image: HANDOUT.
Three people have died following a gun attack on two passenger buses in Mandera county on Monday.
They include a civilian and two police who succumbed to their injuries after suspected militants attacked the buses on Monday afternoon.
The two were among nine police officers escorting the buses from Rhamu to Banisa when the incident happened.The rest of the officers were injured. They were on Tuesday airlifted to Nairobi for further medical attention.
The attack is believed to have been carried out by al Shabaab terrorists, police said.
Eleven passengers on board both buses were seriously injured.
Northeastern regional police boss Rono Bunei said the gang escaped to a nearby thicket.
“We are pursuing them towards the Somalia-Kenya border. They will be caught,” Bunei said.
The buses were travelling from Rhamu to Banisa when they were attacked at Kormatto area, between Olla and Serman. Police and the attackers exchanged fire.
The attackers also torched a police Land Cruiser that was carrying the officers.
Survivors said the driver of one of the buses lost control of the vehicle before it landed in a ditch as he tried to escape from the scene of attack.
Officials said the attackers escaped with weapons that they grabbed from the injured police officers.
Buses usually travel in a convoy as part of efforts to address fears of such attacks.
Monday's attack is the latest in which militants target passenger buses.
Mandera Governor Ali Roba had protested the attacks saying they have crippled the economy of the region.
Last month, militants tried to attack a communication mast in Afaat in Wajir county but they were repulsed. The attackers were killed.
It emerged that one of them had worked in the area as a mechanic before he vanished to Somalia to join al Shabaab.
Police have been mounting operations in the areas to deter their plans. The terrorists have been targeting security installations which they destroy.
This has mainly affected the education sector which has forced hundreds of teachers to flee.
The border region has borne the brunt of repeated attacks from the militants who are at times aided by locals.
The area is near the Somalia border and the militants usually cross at will to stage attacks before escaping back.
Al-Shabaab insurgents have been attacking the region especially in Mandera and Garissa after breaching security zones. This has left dozens of civilians and security officials dead or wounded.
They have also been planting explosives on routes used by security agencies and attacking them.