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Six Al-Shabaab militants killed, one captured in Garissa operation

By Cyrus Ombati | March 15th 2020

Six Al-Shabaab militants were killed in Jirole area, Garissa County during a security operation.

The incident happened in an ambush by special forces Friday morning. Officials said one suspect was captured alive.

North Eastern Regional Commissioner Nicholas Ndalana said they had mounted operations in the area to stop any planned attacks there.

“The one who was captured is being interrogated as the operations go on,” he said.

The special forces had been deployed to the area following reports the terrorists were using the route to come to Kenya and launch attacks especially on security agents and non-locals.

Ndalana said they had mounted operations on the main border as part of efforts to address increased cases of Al-Shabaab attacks. This comes amid reports more militants were spotted in Mandera County.

Officials said five armed Al-Shabaab militants were spotted on Saturday heading towards Borehole 11 and were likely to plant explosives on the roads. Another group of 11 was sighted along Kutulo-Wargadud route.

“It is likely the two groups will be targeting vehicles on the said routes, either IED or ambushes,” said a local security agent.

Ndalana said they had increased patrols in the area. The threats come days after two people were killed and two others went missing after an attack by the militants in Mandera. This was after the gang laid an ambush at Jabibar on the Rhamu-Elwak Road.

Officials say up to 20 people have been killed in separate terror-related attacks by the militants in the area in the last two months.

Between January and February this year alone, 16 attacks have happened in Garissa, Lamu, Mandera and Wajir counties.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last month gave the North Eastern leaders 14 days to come up with an amicable solution on security challenges in the region that has affected various activities including education.

The President told the leaders the ongoing terror attacks are homegrown and must be addressed by the locals.

According to some of those present, the president told the group that security agents had sealed off the main Kenya-Somalia border and there were no more Al-Shabaab terrorists coming into Kenya.

The leaders had discussed the current crises of removal of non-Somali teachers by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) from the region and agreed that some measures must be taken by the leadership to remedy the situation while they put in place long-term security measures.

TSC removed all non-local teachers from Garissa following incidents of attacks targeting them. Upto 42 teachers have been killed in separate attacks since 2014. This follows increased incidents of attacks in the area. More security personnel have been sent to the area to deal with Al-Shabaab militants behind the incidents.

Security agencies say smuggling and trade of contraband goods is the cause of increased attacks by Al-Shabaab in the area.

Al-Shabaab continues to stage sporadic, low scale attacks in northeastern prefectures of Kenya close to the border with Somalia. The militant group in previous attacks has targeted security patrol units, communication masts (BTS), non-locals especially teachers and public service vehicles.

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