The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Residents Flee Mandera as Al Shabaab Run to Gedo

Photo: Stuart Price/UN
Four suspected members of Al Shabaab members captured during joint security operation by AMISOM and Somali security services (file photo).

Panic has gripped Mandera residents as reports indicate that al Shabaab militia fleeing from Amisom troops and the Kenya Defence Forces in Kismayu, are moving toward Gedo in Southern Somalia. Gedo borders Mandera. Families have started moving out of the town to neighbouring Khalalio, Bela, Harari Hosle and Rhamu villages after word went round about the move and the possibility they attempt to carry out revenge.

"Now that al-Shabaab is imminently on verge of losing its last bastion of its control, they are reported to be fleeing to ward interior towns of Somali and this might why people are worried of the Islamist group attacking the town out of desperate ravage" said a senior police officer, who requested anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to the press.

Mandera has experienced kidnapping and destruction of property in the hands of the militia, who have targeted it for revenge attack against the country for sending its troop to Somalia to flush them out. The officer assured residents that there is no cause for alarm because security forces are on high alert to thwart any possible attacks.

In 1991, armed faction chasing the ousted former President Said Barre entered the town causing destruction and loss of lives to the residents. Meanwhile, a security vehicle escorting a water tanker ferrying water to Arabia division in Mandera East district came under gun fire on Thursday. The police overpowered the militia.

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