, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – Al Shabaab rebels have released photographs on Twitter of two Kenyans, whom they say they kidnapped a fortnight ago during a raid at a police post in Wajir.
They identified the two as 30-year-old District Officer Yesse Mule Edward, and 56-year-old Fredrick Irungu Wainaina, a registration clerk at the Ministry of Immigration who was captured alongside the DO.
Al Shabaab’s Twitter handle @HSMPress identifies the two as Kenyan Prisoners of War (KenyanPoW).
In the photographs, the two captives appear disheartened, having been in captivity for two weeks now.
On Monday, Al Shabaab posted selected excerpts of interviews conducted by the District Officer as shown below:
DO: Then these masked men pointed a gun in our face and told us to lie down on the ground…oh God. why me!’ (he says with a heavy sigh!)
DO: Then they searched us and..and (looks down & wipes face)..and ordered us to get into the car. After that I don’t know where they took us’.
DO: I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life. I’ve heard of grenades going off in Nairobi, but this…this is…'(he sniffs).
DO: ‘This is too much… there were gunshots everywhere! I just didn’t know what to do. I just… I just froze and covered my ears with my hands’.
Soon after the excerpts were posted, the Kenyan police answered them through Twitter saying; “Propaganda does not pay. The Kenyan DO does not enjoy your accommodation.”
But Al Shabaab responded with a warning “Don’t further imperil their lives. You’ve failed miserably in ur (sic) duty to protect them; their accommodation now is insignificant.”
The abducted officials had been paraded on the streets of a town near Mogadishu, soon after they were captured. At the time, witnesses said they were on board a Toyota Land Cruiser taken by the militants on the day of the raid.
Initial reports indicated Al Shabaab had taken away the DO, an immigration official and an intelligence officer.
The intelligence officer resurfaced two days after the raid and told police he had taken cover at a thicket near the border with Somalia.
Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said every effort was being made to rescue the two abducted officials.
Six people, including three Administration Police officers were killed during the raid at Gerille police post.
Al Shabaab has previously carried out a series of kidnappings targeting both locals and foreigners from Lamu and the northeastern area of Dadaab which is home to the largest number of refugees fleeing the 20-year-old unrest in Somalia.
Newly appointed head of the Al Shabaab militant wing in the region Amiir Ahmad Imam Ali has warned more vicious attacks in the country to protest a military operation targeting their members in Somalia.
In a statement posted on the website of the Muslim Youth Centre earlier in the week, the group said Ali whom it identified as a “supreme Amiir of Kenya” will spearhead more violent attacks, prompting local police to step up their surveillance.
Ali was once accused by a United Nations report of leading a massive recruitment drive in Eastleigh and Majengo areas, besides fundraising money for terrorism activities.
He is also recorded on videos where he vows Jihad [holly war] in Kenya.