High alert in Wajir over suspected Al Shabaab

Security agencies are on high alert following reports that gunmen believed to be Al Shabaab militants have been spotted on the outskirts of Wajir town.

Wajir County Commissioner Michael ole Tialal said reports from residents indicate a group of gunmen were seen around Welmerer, about 70km from Wajir town.

Mr Tialal said they were responding to the threats.

"Reports of Al Shabaab presence could be used by the group to test our security alertness. Nevertheless, we are taking any report seriously and we are on high alert to combat any danger," he said.

He said there had been similar reports of gunmen around Kutulo, which turned out to be a hoax.

He said some militants could be fleeing Somalia to seek refuge in Kenya following internal conflict that had divided the group, with one backing Al Qaeda and another the Islamic State.

Tialal further said police officers acting on a tip-off discovered two AK47 rifles in Wagberi neighbourhood in Wajir town on Sunday.

Illegal firearms

He said preliminary investigations indicate the guns were part of illegal firearms used during the Degodia and Gare clan clashes late last year.

Also recovered were a detonator, several bullets and grenades, Tialal added.

"They were discovered in an abandoned home belonging to one of the warring clans," he said.

At the same time, Tialal said security had been beefed up in Garsegoftu in Wajir West Constituency.

This, he said, followed tension between the Gelible and Rerow Mahamud sub-clans over intentions to drill a borehole in the area by the constituency development fund (CDF).

Ibrahim Yussuf, a resident, said the violence was sparked a week ago when the CDF went ahead to drill a borehole against the wishes of residents.

Area MP Abdikadir Ore said the involved communities were holding a series of meetings to find a solution.