Al-Shabaab targets passenger bus in Kenya


NAIROBI, Kenya - Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants on Sunday targeted a public vehicle ferrying passengers in Mandera County, multiple sources said, but the attack was quickly repulsed by hawk-eyed security officers manning the dangerous Moyale-Mandera Road in the far north.

According to reports, the vehicle was traveling from Banisa to Mandera town and the attack took place between Olla and Lanfin townships in Mandera County. This is the first time in as many months the militants are targeting public service vehicles in the region.

The attack, reports indicate, left three people critically injured with security forces managing to neutralize the attackers. The attack comes just a few hours after Interior and National Security Minister Kithure Kindiki visited the neighboring Garissa county where he announced a government strategy to neutralize the group.

As part of government efforts to secure the region, he said, Kenya will pump about $200 million towards the modernization of weapons in the security sector. Most security officers are using archaic weapons even with the knowledge that Al-Shabaab has been using sophisticated weapons.

In February 2020, al-Shabaab carried out two attacks in the same vicinity including an attack on the Moyale bus liner killing three people. This attack comes amid local concern about the existence of areas where al-Shabaab trains recruits. Many locals are reportedly afraid to speak up for safety reasons.

Kenya has increased surveillance along the Kenya-Somalia border which is set to be reopened in phases starting this month. Already, the Kenya Defence Forces have established 14 Forward Operating Bases which will be used along the border to monitor and respond to any danger posed by the militants.

A few years ago, former Mandera Governor Ali Roba, who is now the county's senator, said Al-Shabaab was controlling most parts of the county by land mass while criticizing security forces for laxity. Mandera, just like Wajir and Garissa, has been struggling with cases of insecurity.


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