Security beefs up in northern Kenya after killings   2013-01-17 19:16:53            

GARISSA, Kenya, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Security has been beefed up in northern Kenya following the killing of five people on Wednesday evening and the death of two suspected suicide bombers early Thursday.

Regional police commander Charlton Mureithi said more police officers will be deployed in Garissa town and Dadaab refugee complex to ensure that peace is not disrupted in the restive region whose residents have been living in fear since Kenyan soldiers launched cross border incursion in October 2011.

"Security has been beefed and investigated launched to establish the type of devices used and also to apprehend the culprits," he said.

Mureithi's remarks come after two more people succumbed to injuries while four others sustained serious injuries when unknown assailants stormed a Garissa hotel shooting indiscriminately on Wednesday night.

The incident happened at 7:30 p.m. local time as people were taking dinner at the Dunes hotel. Among those killed was a senior Prison Deputy Officer.

Witnesses said the shooting was a calculated move as an informer had been placed to map out police movements near the hotel.

According to eye witnesses, the assailants who were dressed in Somali regalia ordered for tea before drawing a pistol which they used in the killings.

The attackers, who according to an eye witness spoke in a local dialect, separated the locals from non locals before proceeding to into the shooting spree.

Many of those who were killed were shot on the head mainly at the back they were trying to escape from the rear door. The injured were taken to hospital with gun serious wounds.

Garissa County Commissioner while confirming the incident said that they have the information the attackers were of Somali origin.

"We have the information these criminals who were three in number were in a Toyota Probox which kept waiting as they proceeded in the killing. I wonder whether Garissa residents are not learned to take the registration number of the vehicle something that would have helped us with the investigation," Maalim told Xinhua on Thursday.

He however said that motive of the killings was not known saying that it was subject to investigation. Garissa town has witnessed a series of grenade and gun attacks by people believed to Al-Shabaab remnants.

The motive of the attack is yet to be known and the police were yet to make an arrest in connection with the latest attack.

The incident is the latest in a series that have occurred in the area linked to the terror group. In the past year, there have been over 30 attacks involving grenades or explosive devices in Kenya, leaving at least 76 people dead and around 220 people injured.

The US Embassy in Nairobi on Wednesday updated its travel advisory to its citizens, warning them to be cautious when in Kenya due to heightened terror threats and the high rate of violent crime in some areas.

Kenya initiated military action against Al-Shabaab by crossing into Somalia on October 16, 2011, and, on June 2, 2012, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) whereby it formally joined the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Kenyan troops within AMISOM are now actively pursuing Al- Shabaab in southeastern Somalia. In response to the Kenyan intervention, Al-Shabaab and its sympathizers have conducted retaliatory attacks against civilian and government targets in Kenya.

The incident has led to panic gripping the attackers believed to be Al-Shabaab militants change the mode of tactics daily.

Meanwhile, two suspected suicide bombers lost their lives in Hagardera refugee camp in Dadaab district in Garissa County as they tried to lob Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in a dry weather road.

It took place at 2:00 a.m. between the Hagardera market and the refugee camp. Maalim said that a tokalef pistol with seven rounds of ammunitions were recovered at the scene.

According to witnesses, the bodies of the two were damaged beyond recognition and money of unknown value was recovered from the slain criminals.

"We believe these are people paid by Al-Shabaab warlords to perpetuate terror in our country but God is great that the incident turned against them," Maalim said.

Dadaab that hosts the major sprawling refugee camps with over 560,000 inhabitants has witnessed a series of grenade and gun attacks aimed at security agents.

Editor: Lu Hui
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