Shabaab kills six ‘Chris­tians’ in north­east Kenya

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Gender/worldwide -

NAIROBI — So­ma­lia’s Is­lamist Shabaab mil­i­tants on Thurs­day claimed an at­tack on a res­i­den­tial com­pound in the restive north­east­ern Kenyan town of Man­dera that left six “Chris­tians” dead, ac­cord­ing to their Tele­gram ac­count.

The state­ment said the at­tack in the early hours of Thurs­day was “planned... and killed Chris­tians” in the Kenyan re­gion which is mainly in­hab­ited by eth­nic So­mali Mus­lims.

The at­tack tar­geted a gated res­i­den­tial build­ing which mainly housed non-lo­cals, less than a kilo­me­tre from the volatile So­ma­lia bor­der town of Beled Hawa.

“We have suf­fered yet an­other at­tack in Man­dera and sadly we have lost six peo­ple,” Gov­er­nor Ali Roba said in a state­ment.

Po­lice chief Joseph Boin­net told AFP that there were 33 peo­ple in­side the com­pound when the at­tack took place. The oth­ers es­caped un­harmed.

Se­cu­rity of­fi­cial Mo­hamud Ali Saleh said the at­tack­ers used ex­plo­sives to gain ac­cess to the for­ti­fied build­ing.

“We highly sus­pect the at­tack­ers are mem­bers of the Shabaab in­sur­gent group, who have sneaked across the por­ous bor­der,” he said.

“These crim­i­nal gangs are des­per­ate to hurt in­no­cent Kenyans since they were de­feated badly and routed out of all their hide­outs in the neigh­bour­ing coun­try.”

Saleh said that se­cu­rity of­fi­cers who were car­ry­ing out reg­u­lar pa­trols of the bor­der heard gun­shots and ex­plo­sions and quickly re­sponded.

Sev­eral at­tacks in the re­gion have seen Shabaab mil­i­tants tar­get Chris­tians.

In Novem­ber 2014 gun­men flagged down a com­muter bus, sep­a­rated pas­sen­gers by re­li­gion and ex­e­cuted 28 non-Mus­lims.

And in a deadly at­tack that killed 148 peo­ple at Garissa Univer­sity in north­east­ern Kenya in 2015, the gun­men lined up non-Mus­lim stu­dents for ex­e­cu­tion.

The Shabaab has fought to over­throw the in­ter­na­tion­ally-backed govern­ment in Mo­gadishu since 2007, but turned its sights on Kenya when the army was sent into So­ma­lia in 2011 to fight the Is­lamic in­sur­gents.

Since then the mil­i­tants have tar­geted civil­ians in dif­fer­ent parts of Kenya, in­clud­ing a dra­matic as­sault on Nairobi’s West­gate shop­ping mall in which at least 67 peo­ple were killed. — AFP

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