Mandera, Kenya: At least 22 people were Sunday afternoon taken hostage by suspected Somali militia men in Mandera town, North-eastern region bordering the war-torn Somalia, before they were later released.
The militia, who are suspected to be members of the terror group, Al-Shabaab according to Mandera County Commissioner Alex Ole Nkoyo ambushed a vehicle ferrying quarry workers from Arabia to Mandera town at around midday, before driving them towards Somalia border and later released them unharmed.
While speaking to The Standard on phone, the county commissioner said, the militia set free their captives hours later, after robbing them of all their personal effects, which included money, mobile phones and identity cards.
“Suspected al-Shabaab militia numbering 25, today (Sunday) afternoon waylaid a Nissan Hommy, which was carrying 22 quarry workers to Mandera town from Arabia. The militia kidnapped all the passengers at gunpoint and drove them toward the border, where they later released unhurt upon stealing all their possessions” he said.
This daring attack by the Al-Qaeda linked terror comes barely two days, after another militia attacked a road construction field site in Fino, Lafey sub-county, in Mandera County and killed a driver of a tractor.
And early last week, gunmen from Somalia believed to Al Shabaab raided a police post in Fino division and wounded three police officers.
Their attempt to overrun the camp and steal ammunition after killing the officers manning the station was thwarted by the security officers who engaged them in a fierce gun fight that lasted over 30 minutes, according to the county commissioner.
Nkoyo said, after releasing their hostages the militia drove the empty vehicle registration No. KAK 250 L Nissan Hommy owned by a business man Mohamed Osman toward the adjacent Somali border town of Bulla-Xawa.
The county commissioner said: “Our security officers who were on patrol along the volatile Kenya/Somalia border who were tipped on the incident immediately sprung into swift pursuit that forced the escaping militia abandon the vehicle some meters inside Somalia, after they were corned.”