WAJIR, KENYA —
A Kenyan official says suspected al-Shabab militants have carjacked an ambulance in the country’s northeast and abducted four people – the driver, two paramedics, and a patient – and taken them toward the border with Somalia.
Security forces in northeast Kenya are searching for four people who officials say were abducted by armed militants Tuesday evening near the town of Mandera, near the borders with Ethiopia and Somalia.
Mandera County Commissioner Onesimus Kyatha said suspected al-Shabab militants hijacked an ambulance as it was on its way to El-wak subcounty hospital.
“And on-board was a driver, a patient, and paramedics,” he said. “We believe that suspected AS (al-Shabab) were involved in the hijacking of the vehicle.”
It’s not clear what the patient was seeking treatment for at the hospital or what urgent medical care was needed.
Kyatha said the hijacked vehicle was headed toward the border with Somalia.
“We have made appeals to both to the Somalia administration across the border and the local elders to intervene and possibly we get back the vehicle plus the occupants,” he said.
The abductions come as the Somali government conducts what President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud calls an all-out war against the Islamist militants.
Kyatha said Tuesday night’s abductions may have been a reaction to Somalia’s offensive against al-Shabab.
“What is happening across the border is that there is a massive root-out of those fellows (al-Shabab) and we believe some of them could have maybe crossed over to our county and that’s what we are dealing with at the moment,” he said.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for twin bombings on Saturday in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, that left at least 121 people dead and about 300 injured.
Meanwhile, the families of the four Kenyans abducted are waiting and hoping for good news.