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Communication paralysed in parts of Wajir as Al-Shabaab militants destroy Safaricom mast

By Cyrus Ombati | Published Sun, January 7th 2018 at 12:03, Updated January 7th 2018 at 17:36 GMT +3

Gunmen believed to be Al-Shabaab militants attacked and destroyed a communication mast in Kutulo area, Wajir County paralyzing communication in the region.

The unknown number of gunmen are said to have used a Rocket Propelled Grenade to attack the Safaricom mast on Saturday night before engaging in gunfight with four officers who were manning it.

Wajir police boss Stephen Ngetich said none of the officers was injured and they had all been traced, adding that the attackers escaped into a bush.

“All our officers are safe for now but the mast was completely burnt down in the incident,” he said.

The incident comes five days after the gang raided Elwak area, Mandera County and killed five security personnel.

More security personnel were sent to the area after the attack on January 2.

The killings happened along the Elwak-Kutulo road as the attackers also burnt a police lorry while several officers were injured in the ambush.

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On Tuesday, the first attack targeted a group of Administration police officers who were on patrol where two officers and three police reservists were killed.

A second contingent of GSU personnel that was responding to the first attack was also ambushed. The attackers escaped soon after the incident. This is the latest incident in a series that have happened in the recent past.

North Eastern regional coordinator Mohamud Saleh said three police reservists and two Administration Police officers died in the attack.

“We lost five security officers in the attack while on patrol on Elwak-Kotulo road but we are pursuing the attackers,” he said.

Saleh said more personnel had been sent to the area in efforts to repulse the attackers.

The stretch that is affected with such attacks connects Mandera, Wajir and Garissa. In November, two police vehicles were burnt to ashes in the same area, compelling police to stop escorting buses.  The buses have since moved to use the Marsabit-Moyale route leaving many on the insecure stretch with no alternative.

The terrorists had on December 30, 2017 attacked Ijara police station and looted it before five of them were caught up and killed by the Kenya Defence Forces near the Somali border as they escaped.

KDF spokesman Col David Obonyo said a vehicle that had been stolen by the terrorists during the attack on the police station was destroyed after explosives it was carrying exploded during a gun fight that ensued between the soldiers and the militants on Sunday. Five AK 47 rifles, 13 magazines with 370 rounds of ammunition, two grenades, bomb making materials and personal items were recovered during the incident.

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