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Survivors recount moment gunmen opened fire on Kenyan traders in Somalia

Monday April 1, 2024

The families of the six Kenyans who were killed when suspected terrorists raided a border town of Dhobley, Somalia on Friday morning are seeking government support to lay to rest their loved ones.

Suspected Alshabab militia men invaded a business premise where the young men hawked their wares and shot dead six of them leaving several injured.

On Sunday, the Kenyan government flew the bodies in a military chopper that landed at Isiolo airport. The six hail from Tigania West Meru county with four from Akithii and two from Athwana Wards.

During NTV’s visit to the families, we met the families in an expected sorrowful mood.

One of those killed is 18-year-old Chris Mutuma, who went to Dhobley last March after dropping out of school due to a tough financial situation.

His family said he had been their breadwinner as all his siblings are jobless. They added that the incident has left them at the corner urging the government to organise a joint burial for the six families so as to reduce the cost.

Chris Mutuma died on the spot after the terrorists shot him on his back, ribs and head.

A few metres from Mutuma’s home, another home is mourning after losing two sons who were cousins.

Eighteen-year-old Kenneth Mugambi had just completed his form four exams and he was waiting to join college.

His family friend offered them a job in December, little did the family know he would come back dead.

According to Mugambi’s uncle Dickson Koinange, they last spoke on Thursday and said everything was going on well and that he would come back home soon.

His family said he was sprayed with over six bullets in different parts of his body saying he was unidentifiable.

Across the road, the family of 38-year-old Stephen Mwenda who had been in the business at the border for the last six years is having a hard time coming to terms with his sudden death.

His father said Mwenda has been supporting his wife and two children since he ventured into the malimali business.

He had plans to expand his business. Mwenda had spoken to his father on Wednesday when the deceased sold one of his cows to his father. It was the last time they spoke, Mwenda died in the hospital while receiving treatment around 2pm.

Survivors recount

Twenty-year-old Lewis Mwirigi, who survived the attack, recounted how he missed death by a whisker, as he ran for his life with bullets whizzing past his face.

He said the traders were opening their business at around 6.45am as usual and they expected to make some good money because during the Holy month of Ramadan there is good business.

“At around 7am, a Toyota Probox pulled near our shops and four hooded men came out and started shooting at us,” he said.

Mwirigi said the men shot in the air but no one expected they intended to kill anyone, adding that seeing someone carrying a gun or hearing shots in the air in Somalia is a daily occurrence.

Patrick Nthaiba, another survivor, recalled how he tried to save his colleagues after the silence of gunshots.

He said four of them died on the spot while two died while receiving treatment at the hospital. Nthaiba said he collected the bodies lying in pools of blood on the road assisted by police officers.

Somalia attack survivor Nthaiba.

According to the villagers, the incident has left them in shock saying over 17 young youths leave their homes with high hopes of making it in life to do business at Dhobley, a town located about five kilometres from the Kenyan border.

They have urged the Ministry of Interior that is led by Kithure Kindiki to give security to Kenyans who are working in other countries saying it is the responsibility of the government to protect all Kenyans.

The bodies of the deceased have been preserved in different morgues in Meru County.


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