Armed militia release abducted people in northern Kenya
Saturday, July 06, 2013
Armed militia released 40 people after abducting them in two separate incidents in northern Kenyan county Garissa, the police said on Thursday.
Divisional police commander Caleb Matoke said the armed men suspected to be members of the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab took hostage two chiefs (local government officials) from Hullugho district and 38 civilians who were on board a vehicle in two separate incidents at Kabasalo village some 18 kilometers.
“The bandits, who we believe to be militia from Somalia crossed from the Somali border and waved to the driver pointing their guns, forcing him to stop,” Matoke told Xinhua by telephone on Thursday.
“They then drove the car toward a neigbouring bushes before interrogating them on whether they were working with government.”
The move comes after several cars were destroyed and several passengers injured after being attacked by armed bandits in the key roads in the northern region.
Matoke said the attackers who wore masks to hide their faces first waylaid a vehicle carrying to two chiefs from Masalani to Hullugho, and an hour and half later fired at the tires of a trailing bus heading same way from Garissa town.
“Sensing the danger, the chiefs lied that they were business people who had no any link with government. Luckily, none of the administrators had any documents showing that they were government employees,” the police commander said.
The police boss said the bandits ordered all their captives to produce their national identity cards, where they critically perused names, place of birth against the document holders before releasing them after robbing them of their mobile phones.
A victim Ahmed Hussein said the assailants seems tipped on some individuals they were looking for of been traveling on the road from Garissa to Hullugho and they asked for some details on frequency use of the road by government security personnel.
Matoke said the gunmen later escaped using the taxi in turns toward the porous Somali border, adding that the taxi was later recovered by their owners and now drove to Hullugho.
He said all the abducted passengers were now safely at Hullugho police station where the police are taking statements of what they encountered.
Nothern Kenya is a remote and arid region which borders Somalia to the east and Ethiopia to the north.