Nov. 19 (Xinhua)
Tension is high in Kenya’s northern restive town of Garissa on Monday after
the killing of three soldiers near the
border with Somalia. Unknown assailants shot the three soldiers of the Kenya Defense Forces(KDF) in the head while they were waiting for mechanics to replace a tyre in a garage along the Garissa-Kismayo road. The gunmen escaped after the attack.
“It’s unfortunate that we have lost three
of our KDF officers who were killed at
around 1:00 p.m. (local time) by unknown assailants who later escaped on foot. They were in a garage in Garisa town to replace a lorry tyre when unknown men came from nowhere and shot them in the head and later escaped,” the divisional police commander, George Losku, told
Xinhua by telephone. He said the three military officers were not armed when the incident occurred.
The divisional police chief said no arrests have been made so far. “We have launched a major manhunt for the suspects whom we believe are still holed up in the town. We have not arrested anyone in connection with the
killing of the military officers, but the
crackdown is on,” Losku said. “We surely will catch up with them. We will not accept to be losing more innocent lives and those of security officers anymore, ” he pledged.
The incident has paralyzed business in the town with shops shut down amid heavy gunfire and fears of being looted by criminals who might take advantage. “There is a lot of tension amid confusion
due to heavy gunfire in the town. People
are fleeing in all directions. The town has been deserted and everyone is indoors,” said Hali Abdi, a resident of Garissa.
Kenyan security forces have repeatedly
accused some of local residents in the
restive region of either harboring members of Al- Shabaab, an Al-Qaida
linked militant group based in southern
Somalia, or participating in the attacks. They have carried out several operations
to nab suspects.
Garissa has witnessed increasing grenade and gun attacks targeting both the Kenyan security forces and civilians since October 2011, when the Kenyan military entered Somalia in pursuit of Al-Shabaab fighters.