At least three people, including two policemen, died on Friday in an attack on Mandera County Governor Ali Roba’s convoy on the Mandera-Arabia road.
A former chairman of the Mandera County Council was also killed when two vehicles in the convoy were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Seven other people were injured in the attack, with some listed in critical condition.
The attackers fired an RPG at the convoy and hit two vehicles on the road between Nafey and Imo.
The two, a police escort vehicle and another carrying community elders, were burnt by the rocket fire.
The governor’s vehicle had already passed the area and he was safe. The convoy was headed for a public meeting within the county.
The attack happened a few kilometres from the point where 28 people travelling in a bus were killed by Al-Shabaab terrorists on November 22 last year.
The attack happened between Arabia and Omar Jilo. MAP | GOOGLE
Speaking to Nation.co.ke after the incident, Mr Roba said this was not the first attempt on his life and wondered whether the national government was taking seriously the threat to his life.
He said he had complained and written to the Interior minister and the Inspector-General of Police four times in the past seven months to be allowed to buy an armoured vehicle.
He said he had not received any response, noting that he had wondered “whether Mandera was in Kenya or another part of the country.”
“A security operation centre was removed from here for no apparent reason. The government has a responsibility to protect the whole country and there is no need of it to keep soldiers to protect Somalia instead of protecting Kenyans.
“I cannot stop living my life because of consistent terrorism yet the security personnel are protecting another nation.
“What is happening in Mandera is unacceptable. The state should protect locals. Our military is protecting Somalia, yet people in Kenya are suffering,” the governor said.
FRUSTRATED ‘BEYOND WORDS’
The governor said he was frustrated “beyond any words with the national government for failing to allow me to use an armoured vehicle as it has to be licensed, yet I am a senior government official. I don’t want to feel imprisoned in my own county. I have to provide services (and) I don’t want to worry about my security.
“I don’t know if the government is waiting for me to die before taking my security seriously, maybe they are waiting until I am killed to understand the threats are real,” he said.
In October last year, his bodyguard was injured in an attack on his motorcade.
On October 15, 2014, Mandera Governor Ali Roba escaped unhurt after a powerful device exploded as his motorcade passed in Mandera town. His bodyguard was injured in the 8.50am incident.
Mr Roba was headed to his Mandera Town office in a convoy of four vehicles when an improvised explosive device went off, damaging one of the cars.
The governor, in a later press statement, repeated that the attack was an attempted assassination because the blast was a close-range controlled explosion targeting his convoy. A witness said other cars passed safely before the governor’s convoy.
Earlier on August 4, 2014, eight men hurled a mortar-propelled grenade at the county government offices, damaging one side of the building. The perimeter wall was also extensively damaged.
The unidentified heavily armed attackers fired several mortar-propelled grenades at the building, but nobody was hurt as it was early in the day, and none of the workers had reported for work.
On July 16, 2014, a vehicle belonging to Mr Roba was sprayed
with bullets at Gerti in Garissa. Mr Roba was not in the vehicle. His driver and three other people who were using the vehicle escaped unhurt. Later the bandits ambushed a Tawakal bus, killed a passenger and injured a number of passengers.
The county boss has previously said that his life was in danger.