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Al-Shabaab militants ambush another passenger bus in Kenya

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

NAIBORI, Kenya - A passenger bus was ambushed by Al-Shabaab militants on Friday in Wajir, authorities in Kenya have confirmed, adding that "we are still gathering details".

Relaying information from the Northern Frontier Districts [NFD] is cumbersome given poor infrastructural development, coupled with the destruction of masts by militants.

Attacks in the northeast are frequent given the proximity to Somalia, the de facto base of the Al-Shabaab militants, UN observed.

Kenya has been a victim of unending attacks, with security agencies and non-locals in the region being the major target.

Passengers run to thickets

And the attack at Khorof Kharar in Wajir left two passengers critically injured when the militants ambushed the bus, authorities said.

Thomas Ngeywa, the Area Police Commander, said the bus was headed to Wajir town at the time when the militants ambushed.

"For now, we can't give the total number of passengers who were on the bus at the time of the attack but we are gathering more information on what happened," he said.

The driver of the ill-fated bus refused to stop, forcing the militants to fire indiscriminately, bursting the vehicle's tyres, he said.

When the militants were about to access the bus, he added, passengers were forced to flee from the vicinity. Their exact number is yet to be established.

Similar attacks in the region

Notably, the attack comes barely a month after the militants also ambushed a passenger bus near the area, killing eleven people.

Of those who died, most were policemen traveling to their stations in the neighboring Mandera County, police said.

Early this month, the militants also killed three passengers in Lamu, coastal Kenya. Security forces managed to kill five attackers during the attack.

Even more recently, the militants attempted to run over a US Naval Base in Lamu, killing three Americans in the process. Five militants were killed.

Security meetings in Wajir

Friday morning attack comes barely a day after Wajir leaders held a meeting to discuss insecurity in the region, which has hampered service delivery.

To counter violent extremism, they said, intelligence briefs are critical besides close cooperation between locals and security forces.

Illegal firearms will also be registered by the government. Leaders from Garissa and Mandera had initially asked the government to arm locals.

Adan Keynan, the Aldas MP said that " we need to admit that some of these people are amidst us. We must expose them urgently."

The meeting led by County Commissioner Jacob Narengo and co-chaired by Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi came in the wake of increased terrorist attacks in the northern region.

Uhuru's persistent warnings

President Uhuru Kenyatta had last week held a close-door security meeting with several agencies in Mombasa following the Manda Airfield attack.

The attack left the country exposed with reports from Washington DC indicating that KDF troops "hid in the grass and failed to help their US counterparts".

During the meeting, a furious Uhuru promised to crush Al-Shabaab, saying that "we shall impose sanctions to their financiers".

But despite the numerous attacks, security forces early this week managed to repulse another attack at Lamu, where over 50 militants had raided.


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