Suspected Al-Shabaab kidnap miraa vehicle in Mandera
A pick-up transporting miraa from the Meru to Mandera town was on Saturday morning hijacked by suspected Al-Shabaab militants along Mandera-Lafey-Elwak road on the Kenya/Somalia border.
Confirming the 7AM incident, Mandera county commissioner Mr Alex Ole Nkoyo said the vehicle had overturned before the militants appeared from the thickets.
“The vehicle was coming to Mandera town but somewhere at Fino it overturned after sliding in the mud. The militants showed up and a passenger bus on the same road from Lafey to Mandera was stopped and the passengers forced to push the miraa vehicle back to position before the militants made away with it,” said Mr Nkoyo.
He said security officers had already been deployed to the area to track and recover the vehicle.
“Efforts are underway to recover the vehicle and once our officers are back much information shall be coming forward since up to now we can’t tell the number plate of the vehicle and information about the driver and the co-driver is not clear,” said Mr Nkoyo.
However, according to the Mandera Miraa Business Association Chairman, Mr Mohamed Abdi, the vehicle was hijacked at Fino shopping centre.
“The vehicle arrived at Fino and was waved down by armed men who took control and we have lost the vehicle and almost 2000kg of Miraa from Maua area worth Sh400, 000,” said Mr Abdi.
A kilogram of miraa is sold at Sh200 wholesale price in Mandera town and at Sh300 retail price.
In the past one month, 3 related incidents have been reported at the Fino area.
On April 23, a chief from Lafey was kidnapped in the same area and later killed inside Somalia after a bus carrying passengers from Lafey to Mandera town was waved down only for the militants to kidnap the chief.
A day after the chief’s kidnap, an alarm was raised from the same area that two Islamic education teachers had been kidnapped forcing the security personnel to swing into action only to fall into a well laid trap leaving one soldier dead and others injured as they responded to what was discovered later to be a hoax.