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Somali militants attacks communication facilities in N. Kenya
BusinessGhana
Sunday, June 09, 2013

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Somali militants attempted to launch grenade attack at telecommunication systems at Ifo and Dagahaley refugee camps northern Kenya, but failed by a whisker.

No body was injured in the attempt attack that would have been disastrous to thousands of Somali refugees living in the world's largest refugee camp.

Dadaab District Commissioner Albert Kimathi confirmed on Saturday that the militias attacked Safaricom and Orange telecommunication facilities in refugee camp with an aim of crippling communication in the two camps.

"These militias were determined to completely cripple communication in the two camps before proceeding to carry out a major attack. We suspect they wanted to attack the two police posts at Ifo and Dagahaley," Kimathi told Xinhua by telephone.

The two camps that are five kilometers apart are situated 10 kilometers from Dadaab town Kimathi said the insurgents from neighboring Somalia hurled the hand grenades from the top of the roof but failed to get their target.

"It could have been disastrous had the Al-Shabaab hit their target. They know communication is what always helps us respond swiftly whenever there is an attack in those camps and so by crippling communication it could have been difficult to know what was going in the two camps," the administrator said.

The two telecommunication boosters are well fenced but are not guarded by armed security officers.

Residents of Dadaab town who spoke to Xinhua on phone said they heard two loud bangs. Kimathi who spoke after accessing the damage caused to the facilities said that all the installations in the district will from Saturday be guarded by armed policemen.

"These militants have just shown the extent they are willing to go to carry out their evil acts, thank God this time it did not happen as they had planned. We are going to take care of all the telecommunication systems in all the six refugee camps," said Kimathi.

On April 30, Al-Shabaab militias attacked two police bases, killing six people including two police officers. They also kidnapped two others.

The attack was only known by the security personnel five hours after it happened since there is telecommunication network at the area that would have enabled them to communicate and get assistance.

By the time security personnel rushed at the area it was late as the militias had already fled back to Somalia.

Dadaab district which hosts the six sprawling refugee camps and which is only 100 km from Garissa town has had its far share of insecurity incidences with hundreds of people including police officers losing their lives through explosions and gun attacks.

The increased grenade attacks in northern region have made the authorities to heighten security in Nairobi, Mombasa and in northern frontier after Somali insurgents threatened reprisal attacks in Kenya if the country's soldiers who launched cross border incursions in October 2011 do not leave the Horn of Africa nation.


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