A victim of the past Garissa churches terrorist attacks. Photo/FILE
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Omar Khalif, a 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 location.
On May 27, more than 50 heavily armed Al-Shabaab
militants carried out simultaneous raids at the two police bases in
northern Kenya. They killed four civilians and two policemen and also
abducted another two police officers who are still believed to be in
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 mind.
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
"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."
He 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. He 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.
Early 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."The government should better treat the threats with
the seriousness they deserve otherwise they will be caught flat footed
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.
"Every 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.
Recently, the 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 country.
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