Police nab 2 suspects over attacks

GARISSA, May 25 (Xinhua) — Kenya’s security officers are interrogating two key suspects over recent terror incidents in Mandera and Garissa counties in northeast region in the past two weeks.

Regional government official Mohamud Saleh said the suspects are being probed by a multi-agency security team from the police, army and the intelligence. Saleh did not reveal details on when and where the two were arrested.

“I can confirm the arrest of the two suspects in these two incidents. They are being interrogated by a multi-agency security team. At this point I can’t reveal more details,” he told journalists in Garissa.

Eight police officers died in two separate terror attacks in Mandera and Garissa on Wednesday when their vehicles were blown up after running over explosives.

Five officers in the Mandera incident were in a convoy escorting the county’s Governor Ali Roba to a political rally when their vehicle exploded after running over a landmine in Fino.

In Garissa, three police officers died while two others suffered injuries when their vehicle hit a landmine near Kulan Dam in Liboi on Wednesday.

Saleh said one of the suspect police believe took part in planting of an explosive device along Dadaab-Liboi road in Garissa County in which four civilians were killed.

The device blew up a khat vehicle killing instantly all the four occupants among them a one year old baby on May 16.

The other suspect he said was involved in the shooting to death of Omar Jillow area Chief (local government administrator) in Mandera County the previous day (May 15).

Saleh did not however disclose their identities saying doing so would jeopardize ongoing investigations.

The government official said the enhanced patrols along Kenya-Somalia border and sealing off all possible entry points has restricted movement of the militant inside Somalia

He said the militants out of desperation have now resorted to planting IEDs on the roadsides targeting security personnel patrolling the border and administrators.

“These are desperate attempts by the Al-Shabaab militant to sneak and carry out attacks and flee for them to remain relevant after they found it difficult to operate in major towns,” he added.

Saleh said that the roads the militants are using to plant IEDs are also used by the civilians who now falling victims.

The regional coordinator ruled out any political motives in the two incidents adding that the police are investigating all angles to the attacks.

“We are not leaving anything to chance. We shall follow all the leads and get to the bottom of these incidents,” he noted.

Saleh said since his team took office after the Garissa university attack in May 2015, they changed the strategy in countering terrorism by relying on members of the public who have volunteered “actionable intelligence.”

The East African nation continues to suffer several attacks as terrorists change tuck to beat heightened security and carry on with their heinous acts undetected.

In the recent past, there have been numerous attacks involving landmines, grenades, or other explosive devices in northeast Kenya.

Most of these attacks occurred in northeastern Kenya, mainly in Dadaab, Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera counties as well as along the Kenyan coast.