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Al-Shabaab militants destroy communication mast

By Cyrus Ombati | Published Fri, June 2nd 2017 at 00:00, Updated June 1st 2017 at 23:55 GMT +3
Mohamed Ali Saleh when he was appointed as the new North Eastern region coordinator who was appointed by Cabinet Secretary for Interior and coordination of National Government Joseph Nkaiserry on 29/04/2015 in Nairobi. Photo by WILLIS AWANDU/STANDARD

Al Shabaab militants destroyed a Safaricom communication mast during an attack in Fafi sub-county, Garissa County.

The Wednesday night incident left three officers who responded to the attack injured. The attackers are believed to have planted landmines on the route leading to the mast site.

The militants burnt one vehicle and hijacked another in the 10pm incident. Police involved in the operation said they were ambushed as they headed to the site by gunmen who were armed with heavy weapons and explosives.

"Three of our colleagues were injured, one vehicle torched and another hijacked by the attackers. A major operation is ongoing," said an officer conversant with the incident.

North Eastern regional commissioner Mohamed Saleh said they had sent a team of police officers to the area to access the extent of damage caused.

"We understand there are criminals who destroyed a communication mast at Fafi centre hence affecting various activities in the area. We are pursuing them," he said.

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He added that police were pursuing the militants through alternative routes for fear of hidden IEDs. The militants also set ablaze the local primary school.

Locals said the militants had abducted two school teachers operating in the area. The two were non-locals. Their whereabouts is yet to be known amid fears they could be executed.

The militants have in the recent weeks enhanced their attacks across the region killing at least 20 security officers. The attack on the communication mast is the latest in a series that have happened in the area leaving a trail of destruction.

The other areas where the masts have been destroyed include Mandera and Wajir. In the attacks targeting security vehicles, 11 police officers were killed last week in Mandera and Garissa counties when their vehicles ran over IEDs.

Ten others including Kenya Defense Forces officers were killed in Lamu on Wednesday in a similar attack. The attackers have been planting the landmines on the routes used by the security agents blowing their vehicles.

The latest attack on an Armoured Personnel Carrier in Lamu sent shock waves among security agents who questioned their reliability in efforts to protect them against such incidents.

At least three Kenyan police officers were killed when their vehicle hit a landmine in Liboi. The officers were part of a three-vehicle early morning patrol heading to the border town of Liboi when their truck hit an improvised explosivedevice (IED).

In all the attacks Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility. [Cyrus Ombati]

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