Shabaab destroys 12th telecoms mast in Mandera this month

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Suspected al Shabaab fighters on Tuesday night destroyed a communications mast in Mandera, the 12th telecoms installation ruined by militants in the county in 20 days.

The attack in Sarman area left many people without communications.

Witnesses said they saw about 50 armed men roaming the area before and after the attack.

Governor Ali Roba said on Wednesday the attack took place more than 200 kilometres into Kenya, far from the Somali border.

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“While our security managers have trivialised the worsening security situation in Mandera, another telecommunication mast was destroyed last night by suspected al Shabaab fighters in Sarman,” Roba tweeted.

He appeared to be responding to government denials that terrorist militia had taken over most routes in the area.

No injury was reported in the latest incident. The masts are usually manned by police officers.

On Tuesday, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said aggressive disarmament would be launched in Wajir, Garissa and Isiolo counties. He downplayed claims of al Shabaab militants dominating Northern Kenya.

He termed the claims lies peddled by local leaders. The CS acknowledged the security threat is real due to proximity to Somalia but said politicians have exaggerated the situation.

The CS cited boundary disputes, cattle rustling, clan wars, fights for water and pasture and incitement by politicians.

Violence in the northern region has disrupted life and claimed tens of lives in this year alone. Some schools are yet to reopen.

“If you look at the investment  we have made as a government in Northern Kenya and specifically in the war against terror, it speaks for itself,” Matiang’i said.

He made the remarks after meeting governors and security officials from Wajir, Garissa and Isiolo in Nairobi. Mandera Governor Roba was not in attendance.

Insurgents have targeted security installations in the area, affecting the education sector and forcing non-local teachers to flee.

The border region has borne the brunt of repeated attacks from the militants who sometimes are aided by residents.

Attacks near the border are common and militants can slip back and forth, especially in Mandera and Garissa.

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