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Al-Shabaab launches raid in Kenya , torches several houses in Garissa

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online
This image taken on October 10, 2018 shows a burnt facility at Arabia Boys Secondary. Shabaab militants are suspected to be behind the incident. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

NAIROBI, Kenya - Suspected Al-Shabaab militants waged yet another crackdown against locals in northeastern Kenya on Wednesday, ransacking several homesteads before torching source, police said.

The raid at Sangailu village lasted for about six hours, as the militants abducted two people who they used to identify houses belonging to National Police Reservists [NPR] before torching them.

In the process, several villagers were whipped during the raid as the militants accused them of collaborating with security agents to identify their whereabouts, authorities said.

Mohammed Bashir, an 80-year-old man and his son Abdi Mohammed were forcefully used to identify NPR homesteads. The 30-year-old son is still missing, police added.

Nicodemus Ndalama, the areas regional coordinator, confirm the latest invasion by the militants in Kenya's territory, despite surveillance by Special Forces.

"Some individuals attacked a village yesterday before abducting two people who they may have used to identify the homes of the police reservists before burning," he told the Nation.

Sophia Abdi, the Ijara MP, said the militants beat up locals before leaving around 4am on Sunday. They traversed the village with impunity, she said.

“They were blaming us saying we allowed our sons to join the KDF army,” Ms. Abdi told reporters, adding that Al-Shabaab is now targeting NPRs.

“The father is still in shock, he cannot even utter a word from his mouth. He was beaten before being released,” said the MP.

For umpteenth time, locals were accused of collaborating with the terror network, with Ndalama accusing them of giving the militants tip off about security crackdown.

According to the officer, waging successful attacks against the militants was becoming cumbersome due to prior intelligence by the terrorists group.

"Like yesterday our officers were waiting for them but it appears some locals might have tipped them off about our plans," he said. "Every small plan they are getting is because they are being told by people on the ground."

Mr. Ndalana further said that the war against Al Shabaab was getting more complex as the Somalia-based militants continue to modify their modus operandi.

Sophia now wants the government to devise a strategy in countering the insurgents, who have paralysed operations within Garissa and environs.

“Ijara area has been affected greatly. We are losing lives and services are not doing good," said Ms. Abdi. "The attackers are a small number of group. If we stand together as a country and defend our land we can manage the situation."

Last week, the militants raided Sangole village, few kilometers from the region, killing an 80-year-old Mohamed Farah, a a warning to his son working as NPR, police said.

The militants have forced the government to withdraw dozens of non-local teachers, thus affecting learning and delivery of critical humanitarian services in northeastern.


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