Thursday, April 9, 2020

High alert as Shabaab militants destroy Safaricom mast in Mandera

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Al-Shabaab militants are reported to have struck Damasa Town and destroyed a Safaricom mast and a water pump.

Kenyan security officers are on high alert after Al-Shabaab militants on Friday destroyed a communication mast at Damasa in Mandera County.

Lafey police boss Bossita Omukolongo confirmed to Nation.co.ke the destruction of Safaricom communication mast.

Speaking on phone, he said the incident happened at 1am.

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“At about 1am explosions were heard from that area only to be told that a communication mast had been destroyed and the only water source also destroyed,” he said.

Mr Omukolongo said the communication between his station and the Damasa military camp has been cut off.

“We are using Hormud network that is expensive for communication with those at Damasa for now.

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Hormud is a Somalia communication network.

He said the perimeter wall securing the mast was destroyed, as well as water engines and solar panels at the borehole.

HUNDRED MILITANTS

On the reported presence of Al-Shabaab in the area, the police boss said his officers on night duty reported nothing but sources in Damasa have reported seeing more a hundred armed militants.

“We have seen nothing although those in the area are talking of more than a 100 armed men,” said Omukolongo.

He said it has been reported that locals on Damasa side of Somali were moving out of the area.

“We are hearing that those on Somali side are vacating the area since yesterday but we are yet to confirm that,” he said.

On Friday, intelligence reports indicated that 13 lorries carrying the militants were seen at Damasa town but Mr Omukolongo could not confirm.

“Lorries carrying people can be seen on Somali side but nothing has been reported here,” he said.

The intelligence report said the militants were from El-Adde Town and were moving towards Borache (El-Wak, Somalia) and had motorcycles and four Toyota Land Cruisers with them .

It further stated that the entourage was targeting Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) military camp in Damasa, El -Wak camp or the Somalia National Army (SNA) camp in Borache.

“We are unable to communicate to the military camp but all security measures are in place,” he said.

A security meeting scheduled to take place in area on Saturday, to be chaired by Mandera County Commissioner Frederick Shisia, has been postponed.

The destroyed mast and the water source are said to be two kilometres from the Damasa KDF camp.

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