Mandera bus attack victims recount ordeal

Thursday February 20 2020

It is a miracle that I survived the Wednesday Mandera bus attack, Mr Kilonzi Mwendwa, a mason, told the Nation on Thursday.

Mr Mwendwa, who is nursing a broken limb at the Mandera County Referral Hospital, said their journey to Nairobi started well in Mandera town at 8am Wednesday only for the worst to happen four hours later.


“We found police near Rhamu town and they told us all was well,” he said, adding that they met another group of police officers who also assured them of their safety along the road, only for the bus to be attacked at Serman area in Mandera North.

“They [terrorists] were on both sides of the road but our driver did not stop after they attempted to stop him,” he said. He said the assailants started shooting at the moving bus.  

“The driver was so determined to save our lives because bullets were flying from all directions,” said Mr Mwendwa.


He said that no sooner had the bus driver slowed down to check on the deflated tyres, that another shooting started.


“Everyone ran into the bush. I managed to jump out of the bus through the window and hid under the bus where I was shot,” he said.

“The assailants spoke to me in Somali language which I don’t understand but, on realising that I was bleeding, one of them shot at me again,” said Mr Mwendwa who suffered another bullet injury in the bus as the driver drove through the rain of bullets.

According to him, the assailants seemed well organised and had ample time to execute their mission.   

Ali Abdow

Mandera bus attack victim Ali Abdow at Mandera County Referral Hospital on February 20, 2020. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“They were at the scene for about 20 minutes, filming and taking pictures before they left,” he said.

Apart from cameras, the attackers, numbering 10, had radio calls and at least two rocket propelled grenades, according to Mr Mwendwa.

Another passenger, Mr Ali Abdow, a teacher, suffered gunshot injuries in the right hip. Mr Abdow was returning to his work station in Mandera West after attending an education workshop in Mandera town.  


Mr Abdow, who was seated next to the driver at the time of the attack, said the assailants were stationed at three different spots on the road.

“The first group showed up on the road but the driver ignored them when they tried to stop the bus; the second group started shooting at the bus,” he said.

The third group of about four attackers deflated the tyres according to Mr Abdow.

“The driver, who was injured, jumped out of the bus and ran into bush, we all followed him,” he said.

Dr Abdallah Hassan, the Medical Superintendent at Mandera County Referral Hospital, said all the three victims admitted at the facility were out of danger.

He said the facility received three patients with bullet wounds.

“We received the three patients in a stable condition and operated on them to remove bullets and they are responding well to medication,” he said.

Dr Hassan said the facility also received two bodies from the incident. A police report indicated that at least six armed men on two motorcycles attacked the bus, killing three passengers.   

The Moyale Raha bus had 47 passengers on board at the time of the attack.