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Somalia militia attack Kenya village

Thursday May 27 2010

Somali militia al Shabaab brandish their weapons on a street in the outskirts of Mogadishu. Suspected members of the insurgent group shot and seriously injured five people after crossing the border to Kenya in Wajir district May 27, 2010. Photo/REUTERS

Somali militia al Shabaab brandish their weapons on a street in the outskirts of Mogadishu. Suspected members of the insurgent group shot and seriously injured five people after crossing the border to Kenya in Wajir district May 27, 2010. Photo/REUTERS 

By ABDULAHI JAMAA and FRED MUKINDA

Somalia militia shot and seriously injured five people after crossing the border to Kenya in Wajir district Thursday.

They drove into the Dadajabula village, 200km South of Wajir town in North Eastern province, on two pick-up trucks at around midnight and opened fire while the residents were asleep in their Manyattas.

The raid comes just four days after the Somali insurgent group al Shabaab threatened to carry out attacks in Kenya, which it accused of “interfering in the affairs of Somalia.”

It is the fourth attack by suspected al Shabaab militia on Kenya soil in the past three years.

The rebel group’s spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Raghe alias Sheikh Ali Dhere, made the threat during a pass out parade for fresh fighters in the port city of Kismayu.

North Eastern Provincial Commissioner James ole Seriani said the gunmen sped off to Somalia immediately after carrying out the attack and sent a team of his officers to conduct investigations.

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Wajir police commander George Tonui and the District Commissioner led the team of security officers to the area.

“The attackers tried to steal a vehicle from the compound but abandoned it because it had no fuel. Three of those shot had serious injuries and the other two had slight ones. They were treated at the border health centre. The three were later transferred to Daadab as the gunshot wounds were serious,” said Mr Seriani.

Raid motive

The PC told the Nation there were varying initial reports from the area which needed being investigated to establish the motive of the raid.

Some reports from the area blamed cross border business rivalry for the attack while other claimed the al-Shabaab fighters targeted the family because its members are sympathetic to Izbul-Islam, one of the other groups fighting in Somalia.

Seventeen-year-old Fardosa Mohamed Adan, a student at Dadajubal Primary School was shot through the stomach.

“My house was the first to be raided by the gunmen, fortunately I was out of my home at that time, but my daughter was hit by bullet," the girl’s father Mohamed Adane told the Nation on phone.

“Her situation is very unstable at the moment and she will have to be transferred for a specialised treatment.”

Villagers were forced to flee their homes when the attackers arrived and started shooting, after which they searched the houses.

“Some of us had to seek refuge in neighbouring bushes and beyond water pans to escape the danger," a primary school teacher who sought anonymity said.

Safeguard locals

“The situation is, at the moment, calm and I can see heavy deployment of Kenyan security personnel."

Residents said there were very few armed police at the time of the attack, who could barely safeguard the locals.

A similar incident happened in May 2008 when the same village was attacked by Al-Shabaab militants in an attempt to free three suspected members of Al-Qaeda who were being held by police.

In the incident, the attackers abducted a police officer and took off in a police vehicle.

In June 2007, two Kenyan policemen were kidnapped by Islamist fighters and were later found dead.

In the recent threat from Somalia, the al-Shabaab spokesman said Kenya was among Christian (non-Muslim) forces opposing his movement’s Jihad (holy war) against the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu.

“We know that Kenya is supporting few cowards around its border,” he said at a passing out parade for rebel fighters

“You Jihadists are going to crush those elements and move beyond into Kenya,” he said.

Glass house

Kenya, he said, is in a glass house and should not start throwing stones.

“Kenya should learn from what happened to the mightier Ethiopian forces,” said Sheikh Ali Dhere.

“Thousands of Ethiopians had to stream to the border in total defeat.”

Al-Shabaab is linked to terror group al Qaeda led by Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden. This is not the first time they are speaking against Kenya, which they accuse of recruiting and training soldiers on behalf of TFG.

Ethiopian troops intervened in Somalia in 2006 to support the Somali government. They withdrew in 2009 following the Djibouti agreement between the TFG and some of the Islamist factions.

A force loyal to Ras Kamboni Brigade, a militia group that has recently split from Hizbu Islam, led by cleric Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, is active around the Somalia-Kenya border.