Kenya: Al Shabaab militants raid mosques in northeastern Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Kenyan government officials remain alert for possible Al Shabaab militants strikes in Garissa County of northeastern Kenya after a raid on two mosques by gun-wielding militants.

Caleb Matoke, a local police commander in the border town of Hulugho, near Kenya’s border with Somalia, told a local newspaper, Standard, that Al Shabaab militants “hunting for traitors,” raided two mosques during evening prayers Tuesday and sought information about government installations.

The raid took place in two mosques in Ijara, a sub-county in Garissa close to two different military posts backing the Kenyan military operation inside Somalia against the group inside Somalia.

The militants raided Tumtish and Kabasalo mosques where they read out lists of alleged government spies and traitors before kidnapping one of the worshipers for further questioning, the daily reported, quoting the police commander.

Police said the raiders, numbering around 25 Al Shabaab fighters, carried out the two raids before fleeing into Boni forest, which traverses the neighbouring counties of Ijara and Lamu, towards the coastal region.

Police said the fighters were sent by Mohamed Kuno Gamatheere, the alleged mastermind of the Garissa University attack, which killed 152 people, including the attackers.

The raids occurred simultaneously on Kabasalo mosque, 10 km from Hulugho military post and Tumtish, 8 km from another Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) military post in Sangailu, Garissa.

Al Shabaab has been carrying out raids, targeting Kenyan government officials, local police reservists and informers working for the government.

Police commanders said the fighters were deployed by Kuno and led by Mohamed Bilal, an insurgent on the wanted list in Kenya, according to the Standard. The raiders split into groups and moved towards Boni forest.

They were there to warn “spies” and sought the names and homes of local chiefs, police reserve personnel in the area and details of police stations and military posts said.

Last month, Al Shabaab agents kidnapped a local chief in Mandera, northeastern Kenya. The chief was later killed as clan elders tried to negotiate for his release

A KDF soldier, part of a  mission deployed to pursue the attackers, was killed during the botched rescue mission.

-0- PANA AO/AR 21May2015

21 may 2015 17:46:09

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