A section of elders from Garissa have condemned last week’s abduction of the Cuban doctors by suspected Al-Shabaab militants.
The elders have also urged leaders from the region to denounce the terror group and all its activities.
The elders, led by Kenya Livestock Marketing Council Chairman, Dubat Amey, while speaking to KNA Monday regretted that after nearly three years of peace, Mandera town has returned to media spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
“We want all the elected leaders to lead their sub-county residents in making a declaration that will not only condemn Al-Shabaab and its activities but renew their commitment is supporting the government’s security agencies in getting rid of the terror group from the region,” Amey said.
“Al-Shabaab has tainted the image of the region as Kenyans believe that residents of the region are assisting the terror group in carrying out attacks in the country.
We must stand up as a people and behind our leaders to say enough is enough,” Amey added.
Dr. Herrera Correa and Landhi Rodriguez were seized by Al-Shabab militants in a well-coordinated ambush as they were headed to work from their residence. One of their bodyguards was shot dead on the spot as the doctors were bundled into two waiting cars that sped towards the Kenya-Somalia border.
The whereabouts of the two doctors remain unknown as the government intensifies their search with a dispatch of a team of multi-agency security team to Somalia. Elders from Mandera are said to have crossed over to negotiate for their release.
Speaking at the Rtd General Mohamud Eid Grounds during an occasion for special prayers for rain over the weekend, the clerics urged “all those who were involved in the cowardly criminal act to unconditionally release the doctors.”
The Garissa SUPKEM Chairman, Abdullahi Salat while describing the incident as ‘un-Islamic and unacceptable’ urged the Somali community living in Somalia to closely work with their government and those of Kenya to ensure that the doctors are safely returned.
“We want to strongly condemn this incident that has only served to taint the image of our region once again when we all know that Mandera was slowly but steadily recovering from insecurity. It was four steps forward and now six steps backward,” Salat said.
Salat said that the incident had not only dented the Islamic religion, the Somali community but also image of the people of North Eastern.
On his part Sheikh Hussein Mahat said the incident should act as a wakeup call to the security apparatus to always remain alert at all times.
“These criminals are always in our midst and only wait for an opportune moment to strike. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels, security is our responsibility and it starts with me and you,” Mahat said.
The attack comes as a wake-up call as Mandera has not had any terror-related incident for the past three years.
Trade which had been picking up is now at the risk of being disrupted in the wake of the latest incident.
By Jacob Songok