Kenya: Mandera County Commissioner denies reports that teachers were abducted

Mandera, Kenya: Security agencies in the border County of Mandera are looking for individuals, who allegedly put entrapment for security officers on Friday, by giving false alert that two teachers had been kidnapped by Al Shabaab.

Three soldiers, who were among security personnel responding to the information, were injured after they came under hail of bullets from attackers. Speaking to The Standard on phone, Mandera County Commissioner Joseph ole Nkoyo who denied media reports claiming that two teachers were kidnapped from the area on Friday, said some people sympathetic to criminal activities have resorted to new device of “making” false insecurity alerts and feeding the same to media to create despondency among Kenyans.

“As far I’m aware there are no teachers or any other person for that matter who has been abducted in Mandera by anybody under any circumstance, but there was rumours alleging that two Islamic (Dugsi) teachers were abducted and when our security officers responded swiftly, they ran into a gun ambush where three were injured,” he explained. Nkoyo said, the security officers who responded to what we believe was a hoax alert by people now being hunted by the police, came under fierce gun fire upon reaching the place where the alleged religious teachers were been held and in the ensuing gun fight that lasted some minutes, three officers were wounded.

He said the assailants then fled into lushes of vegetation which has overgrown due to the recent rains in the area, and which has made it easy for attackers to camouflage and escape. He added “upon investigations, we couldn’t establish any Sheikh missing or any family reporting a kidnapped person and therefore we suspect the rumours was a pure hoax generated by Al Shabaab or their sympathisers aimed at snaring our officers into their trap,” said Nkoyo. The county commissioner accused the local media of running unverified reports which are based on hearsay. He said this is hurting the local people and the North Eastern region as a whole, since it is scaring investors and professionals coming to the area from other parts of the country.

He added “When I read the story of kidnapped teachers in Mandera, I was shocked and questioned its motive. Most shockingly, I was quoted as the source of the news item, while I have never spoken to any journalists over any insecurity incident in the last 48 hours,” Nkoyo lamented.