By Henry D Gombya
Reports reaching our news desk from the Kenyan capital Nairobi say at least 100 Somalis have been killed on the Kenya-Somali border in retaliation to an al Shabaab attack in Mandera Town on the Kenya-Somalia border in which 28 passengers on a country bus to Nairobi were massacred by Al Shabaab militants.
According to Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto, those killed were al Shabaab militants who he said Kenyan security forces had pursued following the massacre of the country bus passengers. “Following the Mandera bus attack, our security forces swiftly initiated a response. They identified, followed and struck the perpetrators of these heinous crimes,” Mr Ruto was quoted as saying. He added that during the pursuit, several arms were capture and several equipment used by the militants were destroyed.
As can be expected, Al Shabaab has denied the Kenya claim, saying their fighters were safe. But Mr Ruto had told reporters: “I can assure you that those behind the attack did not even take their supper. They were killed by our officers who we sent out immediately after the attack. They did not find time to celebrate their heinous crime.” But this writer’s experience in reporting wars in Africa sadly reveals that in such circumstances, innocent civilians often lose their lives. Al Shabaab militants unfortunately dress in civilian clothes similar to those used by civilians in Somalia. The fear here is that the 100 claimed to have been killed could easily include innocent Somalis.