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Governor Roba: Mandera County at mercy of militants

17 March 2015, 08:03

Nairobi - Residents of Mandera County will take matters into their own hands if the government does not stop attacks by Somalia's al-Shabaab militants, the county's governor said Monday.

One person was killed and three others wounded in Mandera the county on Sunday in an attack by gunmen believed to be the al-Shabaab rebels, who are linked to al-Qaida.

The attack came just two days after Governor Ali Roba's convoy was attacked on Friday killing four people including two police officers. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for that attack.

Roba said Monday the situation in the county is "desperate" and "residents will do what they have to do" if the government does not stop the attacks. Mandera has suffered several attacks by al-Shabaab extremists who have crossed the border from Somalia.

"We will not allow the militants to overrun us," Roba said.

People in Mandera are living in fear of the militants and do not have confidence in the security agencies to protect them, he said.

In October, Roba's convoy hit a landmine as he was being driven to work, injuring one of his guards.

In November, al-Shabaab fighters hijacked a bus near Mandera, singled out non-Muslims and shot dead 28. Twenty-two of those killed were teachers. Ten days later, al-Shabaab killed 36 quarry workers who were non-Muslims.

Also read: Al Shabaab claims responsibility for latest Mandera attack

But al-Shabaab is not only targeting non-Muslims, said Roba. In May 2014, 12 people were killed, including three police reserves, in a suspected al-Shabaab ambush. The majority of those killed in that incident were Muslims, Roba said.

He called for the removal of the county commissioner, an appointee of the national government who is in charge of the country's security, saying he has failed in his duties.

Al-Shabaab, based in Somalia, has vowed to inflict violent attacks on Kenya because it has contributed troops to the African Union force supporting the Western-backed government in Somalia. Kenya has experienced a string of attacks since it sent troops into Somalia in October 2011. Police said last month that 312 people have been killed in extremist attacks since 2012.

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- AP


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