Security up in northern Kenya after Nairobi mall blasts

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Security up in northern Kenya
Mandera (Kenya), Sept 26: Kenya's security forces Thursday heightened security along the country's border with Somalia after twin blasts killed three people, including two police officers.

The two police officers and a civilian were killed and six others injured in two simultaneous terrorist attacks in northern Kenya bordering the war-torn Somalia, Xinhua reported.

The twin attacks in Wajir and Mandera border towns, which occurred within eight hours of each other, also left 12 vehicles reduced to shreds of metal and government offices turned to heaps of rubble.

In the first incident, Mandera county police commander Rono Bunei said they have beefed up security along the border to thwart any cross border incursions of terrorists from neighbouring Somalia.

"We have increased police presence in the region to ensure peace at all time," Bunei said Thursday.

He said two officers, who were manning the camp at the time, came under a hail of bullets punctuated with hurling of hand grenades.

"We lost two of our officers and another one was seriously injured. We are now airlifting the critically wounded officer to Nairobi for better treatments," he said.

In the second incident at Wajir town, the attackers targeted civilians walking on the street at around 7.30 p.m., killing one and leaving five others critically injured, according to the Wajir County police commander David Kirui.

Kirui said: "The assailants whose number we couldn't establish at the moment hurled two hands grenades at a group of people walking towards their respective homes."

"A middle-aged man in the group was killed instantly, while five of his colleagues were injured," he said.

The attacks come after the country was shocked by one of the worst terror attacks at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that lasted for four days from Sep 21.

Al Qaeda-allied Somali militants had claimed responsibility for the attack which also saw 62 civilians, six security officers and five terrorists killed and 11 suspects arrested for questioning.

Foreign forensic experts who are investigating the Westgate incident are expected to establish the identities of the terrorists who stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi and opened fire at shoppers.

The investigations, involving finger-printing, DNA and ballistics examination, will go on for the next seven days and will establish the identities of the slain militants.

Kenya has heightened security around the country with security agencies at an unprecedented state of alert after latest reports that the Somalia-based Al Shabaab group is planning more attacks against Kenya and foreign interests in the country.

Since Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia in October 2011, northern and parts of eastern Kenya have been hit by a series of blasts, many targeting local security forces and humanitarian workers.

IANS

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