Nine injured in vehicle ambush by armed gang near Mandera
At least nine people were injured, four of them seriously, in Mandera County of northern region neigboring the war-torn Somalia on Thursday evening after the vehicle they were travelling in came under a gun ambush.
The attackers estimated at about 20 according the victims, are believed to be militant from the war-ravaged bordering Somalia.
Mandera County Commissioner Michael Ole Tialal who confirmed the incident on Friday said the victims were been treated at the local hospital for various bodily gun wounds sustained from the assailants attack.
“We suspect the motive of the attackers whom we highly believe to be armed men from Somalia wanted to hijack the Land Cruiser vehicle, which is mostly targeted by the Al-Shabaab for hijacking, ” Ole Tialal told the Xinhua on phone from Mandera.
He said security officers were deployed to the area to pursue the attackers who were reported to have been armed with assorted firearms and fled toward the porous Somali border shortly after the ambushing the vehicle.
The northern region has faced a series of attacks believed to have been carried out by Al-Shabaab.
The militias have targeted Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa and Dadaab counties of northern Kenya even as the military reports gains against the Islamist group in Southern Somalia.
The bomb, grenade and landmine attacks in the East African nation have escalated since October last year when the Kenya Defense Forces entered neighboring Somalia to fight Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab.
The Al-Qaeda allies were blamed for kidnapping tourists thus sabotaging Kenya’s economy as visitors cancel their bookins for safety reasons.
Mohamed Jirma, one of those who sustained slight injuries said the attackers were dressed in green military jungle uniform reminiscent those clad by the Transitional Federal Government soldiers and wore a green headscarf on their heads slightly hiding their faces.
Attacks on vehicles along the Mandera-Wajir-Garissa-Nairobi road by people claimed to be a defectors from the TFG forces has been soaring since the Kenya sent its military into Somalia to pursue Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab which the country blamed of repeated incursion that threatened the Tourism sector.
The victims were among thirteen staffs of Consortium of Co- operating Partners (COCOP) a conglomeration of local NGO based in Mandera, who were travelling on different locations on the vehicles way to Nairobi when their Land cruiser came under attack some thirteen km from Lafey town.
Four of the passengers including two children ages between two and four miraculously escaped unscathed, despite their mother whom they were seat on her lap is among those critical injured in the banditry assault.
A similar vehicle owned by the communication provider Safaricom, was hijacked in Rhamu in Mandera County on Monday and car since reported seen in Somalia.
Lafey local leader Adan Hussein Noor who was among the fast people who responded to rescue the victims told Xinhua on Friday that the driver who is among those injured told them that he ignored a hand wave by the attackers to stop the vehicle before they sprayed bullets on them.
“The bandits were seemingly determined to hijack the vehicle at all cost.
“They were divided themselves into three groups and each staging three ambushes of at least a half a kilometer from each other so as to stop the vehicle if it manages to jump the first,” Noor said.
He said the driver managed to speed the vehicle to safety for three km even after been seriously injured on the chest before he stopped the vehicle when he found too weak to drive from over bleeding from the gun wounds.
The civic leader said the incident which is the third of its kind that has happened at Lafey areas in the last three month occurred at the same place where three people including a senior education officials were killed in November last year.