How Muslims shielded Christians in the Mandera bus attack
By DAILY NATION TEAM
Details of how locals refused to be separated from non-locals in the Monday attack on a Mandera bus have revealed that attackers were overpowered when locals decided not to heed their instructions.
According to the Deputy County Commissioner Julius Otieno who spoke to Daily Nation, the attackers asked the passengers to alight from the vehicle and attempted to separate Muslims and non-Muslims.
“They were trying to identify who were Christians and who were not. They told the non-Christians to return to vehicle,” Mr Otieno said.
Mandera Governor Ali Roba, who spoke to the Daily Nation by phone from outside the country, said the local passengers stood together with the non-locals refusing to separate and dared the attackers to either kill all of them or leave.
“This forced the militants to leave in a hurry fearing retaliation by residents from nearby villages. The locals showed a sense of patriotism and belonging to each other by insisting that the Al-Shabaab should kill them together or leave them alone,” Mr Roba said.
Two people died while three others were injured during the Monday morning incident when a bus travelling from Nairobi to Mandera was attacked by suspected Al Shabaab militants.
The 7am attack happened between Dabacity and Borehole II. Dabacity Town is between Elwak and Kotulo.
Mr Roba said intelligence reports from local pastoralist communities indicate that more than 200 Al-Shabaab militants had crossed into Kotulo from Somalia in the past three weeks.
Mr Roba said: “There have been increased movements of terror cells within our borders in the past three weeks. The security team is aware.”
“We have shared the information with the Cabinet Secretary and security team in Nairobi.”
He suggested that the Kenyan soldiers should comb the area on foot to flush the militants instead of doing road patrols.
“We urge the security personnel to launch on-foot engagement rather than patrolling on roads. The national security, those at the county and locals should also partner to flush out the militia which has infiltrated the area,” Mr Roba said.
Report by Lucas Barasa, Manase Otsialo and David Muchui