Residents of Kutulo area in Mandera County today saved at least 20 non-locals from being abducted by Al-shabaab militants.
According to reports, three Al-shabaab gunmen planned to raid a construction site and abduct non-locals, but the residents tipped the non-locals to vacate before the gunmen arrived.
Even after arrival, the residents confronted the gunmen telling them there were no people in the construction site. The gunmen forced their way, only to find the site ghosted. They fired to the residents before escaping.
“They confronted the gunmen who proceeded to the site and failed to get what they wanted. They opened fire but no one was injured before they (gunmen) escaped,” said North Eastern regional commissioner Mohamed Birik.
The workers were later evacuated to nearby Elwak centre by police amid fears of more planned attacks.
In May last year, at least four people were killed in a quarry in the county by Al-shabaab militants, forcing the government to close it down.
Local leaders have been pushing for the quarries to be opened, but the government has remained adamant saying that they will be reopened in a “structured manner”.
“It is not the intention of the government to sabotage or kill the economy of Mandera. Our only concern has been the level of insecurity at the quarries,” said Interior CS Fred Matiang’i last month.
Matiang’i said the re-opening of the quarries will be done in phases and zones as per the guidance of office of county commissioner, the National Police Service and county government.
“The increasing insecurity incidents in Mandera are alarming and are hampering development, but we have made good progress and an announcement will soon be forthcoming from the national government,” he said.