Feature: Kenya's terror victim speaks out over Al-Shabaab ordeal
Friday, June 07, 2013
Omar Khalif, a local government official (Chief) in Kenya's northern
town of Garissa, where Somali militants recently killed six people, has
described for the first time the grizzly details on the attack in his
On May 27, more than 50 heavily armed Al-Shabaab
militants carried out simultaneous raids at the two police bases in
They killed four civilians and two policemen and
also abducted another two police officers who are still believed to be
in their custody.
Speaking on Thursday at his hospital bed at the
Garissa Provincial General Hospital where he is currently admitted,
Omar said that the events of that fateful day are still fresh in his
The long serving administrator who was at first reluctant
to open up for fear of being targeted by the Al-Shabaab or their
sympathizers said that the local authorities had received intelligence
reports that the militia were planning to strike but did not take the
reports with the seriousness they deserved.
"There were rumors
that these assailants had been spotted crossing into the country from
Somalia using donkey carts, but because of lack substantial evidence, we
treated the reports as mere hearsay and life went on as usual until
that day when they struck my village," a pensive Khalif told Xinhua at
his hospital bed.
He said that the militia who came clad in full
uniform of the now defunct Transitional Federal Government of Somalia
(TFG) soldiers surrounded the village while a group went straight to the
camps which are 7 km apart.
"I was seated in my office which is
located right outside the Administration Police camp unwinding after a
long day when suddenly the eerie atmosphere was cut by sounds of
gunfire," Khalif recalls.
"In the confusion, I immediately
stepped out of my office and started running. The militias were
determined to kill me and they ran after me shouting at me calling me an
infidel collaborator," Khalif recalled.
"One bullet hit my right leg but I soldiered on up to a nearby house where I dragged myself in and took refuge under the bed."
said the militiamen who continued reigning terror on the residents for
over five hours came looking for him in his house but luckily he had
hidden himself in a friend's house.
The administrator said there was confusion and chaos in the restive village as residents ran to hide to save their dear lives.
condemned the action of the Al-Shabaab to seize parade, condemn and
summarily behead a primary school teacher, Zacharia Mwangi whilst
forcing the villagers to watch the whole ordeal.
"The impact that
is ungodly action is going on our children is monstrous and I only hope
and pray it will not negatively impact on their morals when they grow
up," Khalif said.
"Since that incident took place, I have had
sleepless nights; I can't get the images out of my head. I feel
traumatized and I keep waking up in the middle of the night thinking
that the assailants are coming for me. I don't know for how long this
His fears are enhanced by reports that there is
another major impending attack targeting security installations within
the Garissa County by remnants of those behind the Damajaley attacks.
this week, area lawmaker Dr. Mohamed Dahiye spoke of an impending
attack in Garissa County by persons believed to have carried out the
Damajaley attacks and who since then have been roaming freely in the
area after the government pulled out all its security forces in the area
following the Damajaley incident.
"Just like the other time when
the militia issued a warning two weeks before they struck, this time
too, they have done the same," Dahire said.
should better treat the threats with the seriousness they deserve
otherwise they will be caught flat footed again."
In a quick
rejoinder, Dadaab District Commissioner Albert Kimathi refuted claims
that the government had pulled security personnel along the border
saying that if anything, more had been posted to the area.
administration police post along the border has 30 armed officers led
by a sergeant at every camp and they are all well equipped with enough
vehicles at their disposal," Kimathi said.
government gave out hotline numbers to enable residents to tip the
security agencies and inform them of anything concerning security in
their area of residence.
Garissa County has borne brunt of
retaliatory attacks by Al- Shabaab since Kenya troops crossed over into
Somalia in late 2011 following a series of attacks and kidnappings in
The violence dates back to October 2011 when Kenya
Defense Forces entered Somalia to fight the terrorist group Al-Shabaab
in their territory. Since then dozens of civilians including the police
have lost their lives.
Kenyan security personnel patrolling the
Somalia border have been hit with a series of explosion attacks since
Kenya sent its troops to fight Al-Shabaab inside Somalia, often killing
or injuring officers.