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At least 8 people killed in Wajir bus attack

Friday December 6 2019

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Several people are feared dead after suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked a Mandera-bound bus between Kutulo and Wargadud in Wajir County on December 6,2019. FILE PHOTO 

BRUHAN MAKONG
By BRUHAN MAKONG
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At least eight people are feared dead after suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked a Mandera-bound bus between Kutulo and Wargadud area in Wajir County on Friday.

Wajir County Police Commander Stephen Ng'etich, who confirmed the incident, said they were waiting for a detailed report from a team of officers that had been dispatched to the scene.

“A group of armed men ambushed a bus that was travelling to Mandera on Friday evening but we are yet to get information on the casualties,” he said.

The militants were said to have stopped the bus before separating the locals from non-local passengers before releasing the bus and executing the victims.

ATTACK

However, the driver returned to Kutulo Police Station with the other passengers after the attack.

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Mr Ng'etich said most of the victims were police officers who were returning to their stations in Elram, Mandera County.

He said the officers, who arrived in Wajir on Friday from Nairobi, boarded the bus in Wajir on Friday afternoon.  

Mr Ng'etich said one of the officers survived after he was dressed in a Somali attire by some passengers to hide his identity. 

The county police boss said the terrorists might have been tracking the victims’ movement from the time they boarded the bus.

This attack comes barely a month after the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militia attacked Dadajabula Police Station in Wajir in an attempt to free two terrorists who were being held in the station.

About three weeks ago, officers who were travelling from Mandera to Wajir, escaped unhurt after their vehicle ran over an Improvised Explosive Device in Tarbaj.

TERRORISM

Five years ago, 28 non-locals were killed in a similar attack. A section of leaders condoled with the victims’ families and called on Kenyans to unite against terrorism.

ODM leader Raila Odinga urged Kenyans to unite against violent extremism.

"My condolences go out to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives in a cowardly terrorist attack in Kutulo, Wajir County. I urge the security agencies to bring those responsible to book,” said Mr Odinga a tweet.

“We must stand strong against extremists and not let them divide us,” he added.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba said he was saddened by the attack.

“It is sad and disturbing to learn that, yet again they (terrorists) segregated locals from non-locals before killing those they believed to be non-locals,” read a statement by the governor.

“I would like to share my sincere heartfelt condolences with the families and friends of the victims of the bus attack. May the Almighty Allah comfort you, ease your pain and grant you peace,” the governor said in a Facebook post. Siaya Senator James Orengo condemned the attack and called on Kenyans to remain united.