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Two killed in suspected Al-Shabaab attack in Mandera

Thursday March 12 2020

Makkah bus in Mandera

Passengers disembark from Makkah bus in Mandera town on March 12, 2020. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MANASE OTSIALO
By MANASE OTSIALO
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Two people were killed Wednesday evening and one was reported missing in a suspected Al-Shabaab attack in Mandera.

Mandera police boss Jeremiah Kosiom said suspected Al-Shabaab militants laid an ambush on vehicles at Jabibar on the Rhamu-Elwak road.

Mr Kosiom said several police officers escaped death narrowly after an explosive planted on road went off missing the target.

He said no one was injured in the incident.

ROADSIDE ATTACK

The police boss said the militants later ambushed a lorry transporting vegetables at the same spot and ordered the occupants to disembark.

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“We arrived at the scene to find a lorry, a motorcycle and another vehicle parked on the road blocking our bus,” said Ali Abdikarim, a passenger who was travelling in a Makkah bus that was also caught up in the incident.

Mr Abdikarim said about 30 armed men emerged from the bushes and asked all passengers to disembark from the bus.

“They ordered women to remove their veils to check if non-Muslims were hiding behind the hijabs,” he said.

The passenger said the bus had only one non-Muslim who was taken away by the militants.

 “They took a mechanic with them and I don’t know whether he was killed or they are still holding him somewhere,” said Abdikarim.

Mandera County Governor Ali Roba blamed the police for the Wednesday evening attacks that disrupted public transport in the area.

“These incidences happened within an area where we have plenty of security forces. The attackers had a field day executing their heinous act for over three hours,” he said.

It is not clear why the bus left Elwak town without police escort.

Mandera CEC for  Public Service Management survived the ambush after he managed to escape from the scene in his official vehicle.

A driver in a Landcruiser ferrying miraa also escaped the roadside attack.