Kenyan police repel suspected terror attack in Garissa

Monday January 21 2019

Garissa County Commander Richard Kerina addresses the press following attack on a construction site at Shimbirey on January 20, 2019. PHOTO | KNA


Kenyan police have thwarted an attack by suspected Somali militants al Shabaab on a Chinese-owned construction company in the northeastern region, an official said on Monday, days after the Islamist group killed 21 people in Nairobi.

The assailants wounded four people while they attempted to hit the site in Garissa County, not far from the Kenyan-Somali border, owned by a Chinese road construction company that is building the Garissa-Modogashe highway.

According to locals who spoke to the press on condition of anonymity, the hooded militants all armed with AK-47 rifles kidnapped a man from a nearby village and ordered him to take them to the Chinese construction site in Shimbirey, about 50km from Garissa town.

One of the villagers is said to have tipped off the police officers guarding the site.

The militants are said to have started shooting indiscriminately prompting the workers who are housed outside the fenced camp to flee.

“The attackers were repulsed since the security officers were very alert. There was exchange of fire before the attackers escaped,” county police commander David Kerina said.


He said during the shootout the wife to one of the guards manning the gate was shot from behind.

She was rushed to the Garissa County Referral hospital where she is admitted.

Mr Kerina said her condition was stable. The woman’s husband is among the other three who were injured.

“I believe the attackers, who were armed, might be Somali militants. They fled, but we have intensified security operations. So far no arrest has been made.”

“Traces of blood as they escaped on foot indicate that quite a number of them sustained serious bullet injuries and we are right on their heels,” Mr Kerina added.

Al Shabaab, a Somalia-based al Qaeda affiliate fighting to impose its interpretation of Islamic law, claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s assault on the Nairobi's upscale dusitD2 hotel and office compound.

The group has often targeted Kenya in revenge for sending troops to Somalia, but said the dusitD2 attack was due to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Police have arrested nine people over the hotel attack, including one listed as a Canadian.

On Sunday, Kenya police circulated by Twitter pictures and names of another eight people it said they were seeking for involvement in the assault or planning fresh attacks.

Four of the named suspects have surrendered, handing themselves in at a police station in Isiolo..