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Al-Shabaab militants raid Garissa, murder 80-year-old elder

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

GARISSA, Kenya - An unknown number of Al-Shabaab raided a village in Garissa on Friday morning, killing an 80-year-old octogenarian, police reports indicate.

Friday's attack comes amid a crackdown against the militants in the northeastern, with the security forces determined to eliminate insurgents.

The raid took place at the Sangole area in Ijara, 13 kilometers from a police station with the number of the attackers still remaining unknown, the report adds.

Abdullahi Farah, an 80-year-old local, was descended on by the militants, succumbing to his injuries on the spot, police said.

They targeted an NPR from the home

The militants are said to have crossed over from Somalia in their hideouts, but they are said to have had a "perfect knowledge" of the topography.

But their mission was to capture a National Police Reservist [NPR], Mr. Khali Abdullahi, who has been helping security forces to crush the militants.

However, their target was out for the patrol with Special Forces manning the region, where they have been stationed for a couple of days, police added.

The attack comes amid a consolidated effort to crush the militants, with President Uhuru Kenyatta asking for the US for support.

Special Forces pursuing the militants

Nicodemus Ndalama, the Northeastern Security Coordinator, said “There was an incident by suspected Al Shabaab militants...We are in the process of gathering more information."

Special Forces are currently pursuing the militants, who are believed to be hiding in the nearby bushes and homesteads, he added.

“We have our security forces on the ground pursuing the assailants and I believe the operation will be successful,” he said.

During the raid, the militants took time around and slaughtered a goat within the compound after killing the old man, the official said.

He said: “When the attackers missed their initial target they proceeded to kill the father may be to pass a message."

The official argued that “This is an act of desperation since they have been unable to carry out the attacks due to enhanced security."

A mass exodus of teachers

Garissa has been the worst hit with the ongoing exit of non-local teachers, who have been critical in the dissemination of knowledge in local schools.

Teachers Service Commission [TSC] withdrew hundreds of teachers early this week citing "frequent insecurity threats" waged by Al-Shabaab.

Last month, their incidents of Al-Shabaab attacks were recorded in Garissa, in which three children and a teacher were killed.

But the security boss downplayed Al-Shabaab threat, arguing that normalcy had been restored before the teachers left.

“The exit of teachers on security grounds is not our making but it came from Nairobi leaving us with no control over it,” he said.

Local leaders held a security meeting last month, in which they asked for frequent cooperation between residents and security forces.

Northeastern worst affected

Garissa, Wajir, and Mandera counties have borne brunt of the insecurity in the region, with Al-Shabaab targeting non-locals and security forces.

Already, the government has increased surveillance in the region, targeting Al-Shabaab financiers across the border, Dr. Fred Matiang'i said.

Residents of Wajir reported early this week's presence of Al-Shabaab militants in Dadbule, claiming that they had crossed over from Garissa.

“They were 12 of them and were armed with weapons,” said Ms. Mariam Ibrahim, a local who spoke to the local media.

They are said to have been depending on three donkeys for mobility and sharing a water point with the locals.

Another resident who did not want to be named said: “The group walks around with AK-47 assault rifles and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) and when they come to fetch water, some of them act as guards.”

Authorities have intensified crackdown in the region to pursue the hideouts of the militants in a bid to flush them out, officials said.