A Mandera chief who was kidnapped early Thursday morning by heavily armed men has been killed. Arabia chief Muktar Maalim was travelling on a matatu to Mandera town when he was abducted.
A source said that elders from the chief’s clan followed the trail of his abductors and managed to find him at a border town. They pleaded with the assailants to release Maalim. The source who sought anonymity said the assailants tied Maalim to a tree and shot him in front of the clan elders and directed them to take his body.
Unconfirmed reports are that the chief was killed after the clan elders failed to raise a ransom of Sh4 million the suspected al Shabaab gunmen asked for. Efforts to reach Mandera County Commissioner Alex Ole Nkoyo for confirmation were unsuccessful.
Maalim was abducted at a spot which is about five minutes from the Kenya-Somalia borders. Other passengers in the bus he was travelling in were unharmed.
One of the passengers told the Star Newspapr on the phone that the armed men ambushed the vehicle at a junction. “They started firing at us on the first roadblock. The passengers asked the driver to stop the matatu,” he said. The passengers were then separated into three groups of men, women and government officials. The passenger said the attackers checked IDs and job cards of the officials and singled out Maalim.
He said the assailants said they were only interested in government officials. Assistant chief Abdinoor Dakane, who was travelling in another vehicle, jumped out after the assailants started firing and ran away. The abduction took place 10km from the site of last year’s November 22 Mandera bus massacre in which 28 people were killed.
The driver of the matatu said the abductors spoke fluent English and Kiswahili. Mandera county commissioner Alex ole Nkoyo, who convened a meeting to address the issue, said no group has claimed responsibility. This killing comes days after Northeastern politicians toured the area to address insecurity following the killing of 147 people in the April 2 Garissa University College massacre.