Fate of five kidnapped by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in Lamu unknown

The whereabouts of five people kidnapped by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in Lamu on Friday are unknown.

But witnesses say two vehicles commandeered by the militants had been spotted in Jilib, a stronghold of Al-Shabaab.

The vehicles, according to witnesses who talked to police, were seen speeding towards Jilb where Amisom and Kenya Defence Forces troops are advancing.

“We are yet to know where the five people are. We do not know if they are still with the kidnappers or were abandoned,” said a senior official involved in the search and rescue mission.

Those missing were identified as Anwar Abdi, Ali Omar, Abdirahman Mohamed, Deeq Mohamed and Shukri Noor.

The two Toyota Land Cruiser pick-ups, which were transporting miraa between Milimani and Basuba in Lamu East were intercepted by gunmen at around 8.30am on Friday.

They also took off with the five occupants of both vehicles, which were transporting miraa to Somalia.

Officials involved in the search mission said they stumbled upon sacks of miraa dumped a few kilometres away from the point of the attack.

Combined forces consisting of the Kenya Defence Forces, Rapid Deployment Unit, General Service Unit and regular police scoured the area in vain.

Lamu County Commissioner Njenga Miiri said they were yet to get the five men who were kidnapped on Friday.

This was the second attack to happen in the same area. The first incident happened in August when a driver was beheaded and two vehicles taken away and no recovery has been made so far.

The latest incident happened as KDF troops in Somalia were preparing to liberate Jilib from the militants.

On Friday, at least 60 Al-Shabaab militants were killed in an operation by KDF in Bula Gaduud, Somalia.

KDF said they recovered several bullets and guns and five vehicles from the slain militants.

Spokesman Col David Obonyo said the operation was the third in efforts to liberate the area.

“The militants were regrouping to approach our strongholds when they were crashed. We counted 60 bodies and recovered five vehicles with many bullets,” said Col Obonyo.

This brought to nearly 100 the number of the militants killed in the same town since Monday.

According to KDF, several other militants escaped with injuries and withdrew towards Jammanane and Jilb.

KDF and Somali National Alliance personnel were in Bula Gadud ahead of a planned assault on Jilib that is one of the towns occupied by the militants.