Sunday, July 12, 2020

Shabaab militants attack Diff Police Station in Wajir

Al-Shabaab militants raided Diff police camp near the Kenya-Somalia border Saturday morning, injuring one policeman.

Wajir County Commissioner Michael Ole Tialal said at least three militants could have been injured or killed during the 1.30 am attack.

“It is true the Al-Shabaab came and attacked Diff police camp but our officers fought them off. One police officer was shot and injured on the knee but the rest of the officers are okay.

“All our officers are accounted for,” Mr Tialal told the Nation on phone.

He added: “The attackers could, however, have suffered more casualties due to the amount of blood at the scene.

“They were speaking in Swahili saying their people had been seriously injured as they carried and loaded them in vehicles before fleeing.”

This is the second attack at the Diff police camp this year.

Wajir South MP Abdulahi Diriye condemned the attack on the police station.
“This is the second attack in less than 6 months. The few police officers at Diff tried their best but were over powered because we are told the attackers were nearing hundreds,” said Mr Diriye.

The MP blamed Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) saying they had requested them to relocate their camp to the vulnerable side of Diff near the Somalia camp.

In April, the militants injured three officers before escaping in a police vehicle. They also escaped with a mortar after burning some structures, including a chief’s kiosk in the town.

During the raid, the militants also escaped with their injured colleagues using a police vehicle.

Diff is located 10km away from Kenya’s border with Somalia and about 12km from a Kenya Defence Forces camp.

INVESTIGATE THE ATTACK

On Saturday, the extremists shot indiscriminately at the police officers at the camp before they were repulsed.

Mr Tialal could not confirm earlier reports that the raiders also looted a police armoury only saying a team had been dispatched to provide reinforcement and investigate the attack.

“Our officers are doing investigation to see what happened. As you know communication network in the area is weak,” the commissioner said.

The militia armed with rifles numbered more than 150 and came in seven vehicles, four Land Cruisers, two Toyota Probox and a lorry, he said.

Mr Tialal said the militia disappeared deep into Somalia and the KDF soldiers across the border had been notified to pursue them.

The raiders engaged the police officers in a fierce fight before disappearing back into Somalia.

“We are coordinating with KDF in Somalia to look for them and hit them,” the administrator said.

He said the militia could have come to revenge the killing of at least three of their members when they attacked Diff police camp in April.

Last week, five passengers and one police reservist were killed by Al-Shabaab during a bus attack between Elwak and Wargadud in neighbouring Mandera County.

Eight passengers were injured, three of them critically.

Wajir, Mandera and Garissa counties have faced frequent attacks from the killers since KDF moved into southern Somalia in 2011 to pursue the insurgents after a series of kidnappings of tourists along the border.

Leaders from the three counties, led by Mandera Governor Ali Roba, want the government to recruit 900 Kenya Police Reservists (KPR) in the counties to be deployed along the Kenya-Somalia border to fight Al-Shabaab.

KPR DEPLOYMENT

Mr Roba says the KPR deployment was one of the requests made to President Uhuru Kenyatta by governors, senators and MPs from the areas that was yet to be implemented.

Each of the three counties that neighbour Somalia, he said, should have at least 300 KPRs to conduct foot patrols to counter Al-Shabaab.

Although the government had provided enough security to Mandera, Mr Roba said the personnel only conducted patrols on main road while Al-Shabaab operated in the bushes.

“This makes it very difficult to overcome the challenge of terror cells movement.

That is why as northeastern region leaders we had requested for 300 KPRs to be positioned in Mandera and work under the police and chiefs,” Mr Roba said.

Daily Nation

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