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Kenyan police pursue al-Shabab leader after killing of 4 in border region - Xinhua

GARISSA, Kenya, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan security agencies have launched a major manhunt for an al-Shabab ringleader believed to have staged a foiled attack at local school in Garissa county early Tuesday.

Jan 7th 2020 ยท 1 min read

GARISSA, Kenya, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan security agencies have launched a major manhunt for an al-Shabab ringleader believed to have staged a foiled attack at local school in Garissa county early Tuesday.

The police said Maulid Bilal whom they described as the ringleader of an al-Shabab militant group is behind a spate of attacks in Fafi and Hulugho regions in Garissa which borders Somalia.

Police spokesman Charles Owino said security officers thwarted an attempted dawn attack by the militants in Saretho in Abakeile location in Dadaab, northeast Kenya.

"The criminals had targeted the nearby communication mast and in the process, four innocent lives were lost before our team that was on border patrol responded and contained the situation," Owino said in the statement.

He said the police managed to kill two attackers and promptly secured members of the public in Saretho village while other militants escaped with injuries and police has launched a manhunt to bring the criminals to book.

According to Owino, the police recovered two improvised explosive devices and two AK47 rifles from the scene of the attack.

Witnesses said the dawn attack left a police officer and three children injured during the shoot out with the militants believed to have crossed the porous border from Somalia.

A police report said security agencies are in hot pursuit of the wounded militants and their collaborators, some of whom are family members of the operatives and are said to be harboring and assisting them to carry out the attacks.

"The security agencies are also reportedly closing in on a suspected al-Shabab leader within Dadaab who is said to be coordinating most of the al-Shabab attacks in the region," says the police report.

The police called on the public assistance in netting the criminals and taming the al-Shabab menace in the restive region.

The report says Bilal is a Kenyan Ogaden from Hulugho sub-county, Garissa County, and was a Madrassa teacher in the region prior to joining al Shabab.

He is also reported to have recruited some of his students and Ogaden clansmen into the al-Shabab group.

According to the police, the militant group has shown no concern for the local Somali population in the area, meting out barbaric attacks targeting critical services used by the locals including attacks on schools, hospitals and medical staff and destruction of communication equipment as well as jeopardizing the construction of critical infrastructure such as roads in the area.

There has been heightened security around the country with security agencies at an unprecedented state of alert amid the latest reports that al-Shabab might be planning attacks against Kenya in unspecified locations.

last updated: 2020-01-08@07:01