, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 13 – Kenyan authorities have commenced talks with elders in Somalia to try and trace a District Officer, a chief and a civilian abducted from Wajir on Wednesday night by suspected Al Shabaab militants.
Seven people including three Administration Police officers were killed in the raid at Gerille Police post, seven kilometres from the Somalia border.
“If those abducted were in the country, we could have found them by now. There is no doubt they were taken to Somalia,” a senior police officer told Capital News on Friday.
“Our officers and the provincial administration have established contact with their counterparts in the neighbouring country as part of the rescue mission,” the officer added, stressing the need to “rescue them as soon as possible.”
North Eastern Provincial Police Chief Leo Nyongesa confirmed little progress had been made in reaching those abducted.
“They have not been found, but an investigation is underway. Everything is being done to ensure we get them… it is a matter of absolute importance,” the police chief said but declined to discuss logistics of the rescue mission.
A police vehicle and firearms were also stolen by the militants who struck Gerille Administration Police post in Wajir which was also burnt down.
The daring attack prompted an emergency security meeting at Harambee House, the headquarters of the Provincial Administration.
The meeting was chaired by Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia. Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and a representative from the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) among others attended.
On Thursday, the Al Shabaab which maintains close ties with global terror network Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack, and confirmed they were holding the abducted officials.
The terror group said it carried out the attack “in revenge for the aggressive Kenyan invasion against the Muslims of Somalia.”
“Seven Kenyan administration police and government officials were immediately killed, while others were taken prisoners,” the Al Shabaab said in a statement, adding they also seized vehicles, communication equipment and weapons.
The attack follows the most recent one that occurred on New Year’s Eve when a hand grenade was hurled at a club in Garissa, killing five people. Several others were wounded.
Kenya has suffered a spate of attacks since sending its military into Somalia in mid October 2011 to fight the Al Shabaab which it blames for a series of kidnappings and other attacks locally.
On Christmas Eve, a grenade explosion at a bar in Wajir left six people wounded.
Garissa has been one of the worst hit by the violence. On November 24, two grenade attacks there killed three people and injured 27.
On November 5, a grenade attack on a church in the town killed two people and injured four.