View of Mandera town /STEPHEN ASTARIKO
The al Shabaab militants in Mandera have infiltrated almost every major Mandera town and renewed their attacks, security agents have said.
Speaking to the press at his office on Wednesday, county commissioner Fredrick Shisia said the militants are campaigning to divide the locals from non-locals.
“They have created fear. They intimidate residents into joining the group. and incite them against the government, which they accuse of failing to provide protection,” he said.
Shisia said the group has a strong intelligence network, but added measures are in place to counter their renewed approach.
He said the militants target security officers and non-locals. The group has increased attacks on passenger buses plying the Mandera-Wajir road.
Mandera has been the scene of frequent al Shabaab attacks in which dozens of civilians and security personnel have been killed.
At least six people were killed when suspected al Shabaab militants sprayed two buses with bullets on July 1.
Many al Shabaab cells have been destroyed inside Somalia, especially in Gedo. This has forced them to move in small groups towards the porous Kenya-Somalia border.
Amisom forces continue with heavy aerial bombardments inside Somalia.
“We will work with locals to flush them out. We have won the locals’ support,” Shisia said.
The county commissioner said the government has opted to use modern approaches to thwart the group’s attack.
Hence, it is adopting new patrol techniques to override those of the al Shabaab. He said they are aware the militants are in almost every major town in the county.
Shisia said modern weapons and vehicles will be provided to security forces to defeat the group.
The move to equip security officers will give them a better platform on which to fight the terror group and deny it any chance of infiltrating the communities further and committing crimes