How al Shabaab planned attacks

AS Kenyans struggle to come to terms with the second al Shabaab massacre in two weeks, it emerged last night that the police were informed about the attacks as long ago as mid-November.

The Kenya Police Service were informed by the NIS of a meeting conducted by terror gang Saleh Nabhan Brigade at Garbahaareey, 74km from Mandera.

But how did the terrorists so easily find their way into and out of the country? Mandera County borders the Gedo region of Somalia to the northeast, with Garbahaarey as its capital, an area teeming with militants.

The region, which also borders Ethiopia to the North, stretches between Gedo town to the South and Lug to the North, near the tip of Mandera County.

This area is known for thriving a contraband business estimated in the billions of shillings – mainly sugar and textiles.

A web of powerful business cartels of both Kenyan and Somali nationals operates here. The Police Service, Immigration officials, Kenya Revenue Authority officials and dangerous criminals are also in the mix.

This intricate web of illegal commercial interests and rivalries is known to the National Intelligence Service agents in Mandera.

One of our sources said the police were informed of a secret planning meeting of a terror group called the Saleh Nabhan Brigade, named after Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Kenyan reportedly killed in a raid carried out by United States Navy Seals in 2009.

The sources, based in northern Kenya, said the KDF were informed that the terrorist leaders were meeting in Birta Deer village, about 18km south of Garbahaareey.

The terrorists enter and leave Mandera to meet local informers and sympathisers who go to great lengths to inform them about potential targets.

Kenyan officials have often been accused of working in cahoots with criminal elements from Somalia after large sum of money are paid in bribes.

Security analyst Francis Maina said corruption and poor co-ordination between security agencies have exposed Kenya to terror attacks.

“Intelligence collected by the national security agency is not acted upon by the police inside the country and the Kenya Defence Forces at the borders,” he said.

He said due to the large sums of money exchanging hands at the borders, the police normally see the NIS as a “competitor and not as a security partner”.

The area the Gedo region shares with Kenya is often referred to as no-man’s-land, given the free movement of illicit goods and shady people.

It is here that al Shabaab militias have found a safe haven.

The Gedo region is under the Ethiopian forces of Amisom that are mainly based in Dollo on the Somalia-Ethiopia border. This has apparently given al Shabaab easy entry into Kenya.

Yesterday Alex Kariuki, a quarry businessman from Nyeri, claimed survivors of the Tuesday night massacre said that a fortnight ago notices were given out ordering non-Muslims to vacate the quarries or face unspecified consequences.

“The 14-day notice was lapsing today and our colleagues were preparing to vacate when they were killed. We suspect the number of those killed is higher than 36,” said Kariuki. Chaka township in Nyeri was tense last night, after reports that local youth were preparing revenge attacks.

Uniformed and plainclothes police officers were swiftly dispatched to Chaka.

Al Shabaab’s massacre of 36 harmless stone masons in a quarry in Mandera county targeted non-Muslims, a large number of whom were from Chaka in Kiganjo, Nyeri county. Survivors told reporters Muslims were spared.

Last night Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua said 18 of the 36 killed were from Nyeri County.

They were huddled together at 2am from tents next to the quarry. They were ordered to lie face down. Then the shooting started. Some of the victims were beheaded.

Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said that they were attacked in a quarry in Koromey, about 10km from Mandera town.

The slaughter happened only four hours after three armed terrorists raided a club in Wajir and killed one person, Boniface Daee, and injured 13.

The masked attackers raided the Ngamia Club, about 800m from the Wajir police station, and shot at revellers.

Kenya Police Service spokesperson Zipporah Mboroki said three other victims — Kevin Ojwang’, Tom Gikundi and John Muchiri — were admitted to hospital in serious condition.

After the club attack, the gunmen raided a Kenya Power substation but were repulsed by officers guarding the area.

State House released a statement on the Mandera and Wajir attacks Tuesday and said investigations into the two incidents had been launched.

The statement, by State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu, indicated that a full statement would be issued later on Tuesday.

“The Government sends messages of condolences to the families of those who have lost their dear ones and stands by them during this difficult time,” the statement read.

On November 22, a Nairobi-bound bus was attacked and 28 passengers were shot dead at Omar Jillo in Mandera County.


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