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Hunt intensified for missing nuns

NAIROBI, November 11 – The police and the military on Tuesday mounted a major security operation in search of two Italian nuns who were kidnapped by Somali militiamen in Mandera district on Sunday night.

A senior police officer has told Capital News that local police tracking down the militiamen were holding one of the bandits who was arrested on Monday night when the security forces crossed over the border into Somalia.

“The suspect is co-operating well with our officers and we hope to get them (nuns) and the vehicles which were stolen,” the officer said.

The officer said the gunman had provided investigators with crucial information on the whereabouts of the hostages and their captives who are said to be hiding some seven kilometres from the border.

The source said they had also received information that the hostages were being held at Garbahaarey, about 175 km Northeast of Elwak town.

The nuns were kidnapped when the gunmen raided Elwak town where they hurled grenades and fired rockets at a police post before they took away the nuns from a local Catholic church.

“We are also in talks with elders from the other side (Somalia) and we have been told the hostages are in good health. We are doing everything to have them returned back,” the officer said.

Police said they were also tracking down two civilian vehicles and another one owned by the government which was stolen by the attackers during the raid.

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The raid occurred just three days after the government announced it had scaled down a security operation that has been going on in Mandera district, following inter-clan fighting between the Garre and Murulle clans.

A bid by area Member of Parliament Mohammed Affey to demand an explanation from the government in Parliament on the situation in Mandera was blocked on Tuesday.

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