Police in Kenya pursue Al-Shabaab militants behind bus attack
NAIROBI, Kenya - A contingent of Kenya police officers is currently pursuing six Al-Shabaab militants who attacked a passenger bus in Wajir, the northeastern part of the country on Wednesday, in the latest attack on Kenyan soil, amid ongoing operations within the Kenya-Somalia border.
According to the police reports, the militants who were armed with AK-47 rifles stopped AlMukaram Bus which was heading to Nairobi from Mandera in northeast Kenya, and robbed a bus conductor of 40,000 shillings [364 U.S. dollars] and valuables from passengers.
"They fired one shot into the air and ordered all the passengers who were on board to alight from the bus. They separated men and women and interrogated men by asking whether they carry non-locals (Christians) in their buses and also among them whether there was any civil servant," the police said in an incident report filed on Tuesday evening.
Thereafter, the militants took some foodstuff after robbing the bus conductor of some cash and warned him not to carry non-locals on their bus, police added, noting that this was the first incident in the region in as many months.
The police said the extremists later released the bus to proceed with their journey without harming any of the commuters. The same stretch [Kotulo area] has been troublesome for days as the al-Shabab militants stage attacks on separate days leaving a trail of deaths and destruction.
Already, more security officers have been dispatched to the scene to pursue the attackers believed to have crossed into the porous border from neighboring Somalia, police said, adding that a contingent of Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] had also been dispatched to the region.
The Somali militants have been abducting civilians and targeting military and police vehicles either by laying an ambush or planting explosives on the road in the northeast region especially in Mandera and Garissa counties.
Early this week, Mandera Governor Ali Roba raised concerns about the increasing number of militants in the northeastern region, arguing that the government should urgently find a lasting solution. Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa are some of the regions Al-Shabaab is trying to dominate within Kenya.
Many people, the majority of them non-locals or Christians have as a result lost their lives with others left with permanent injuries as a result of attacks staged by the militants.