GARISSA, Kenya (Reuters) – Suspected Somali Islamists attacked Kenyan policemen holding three men, including two British nationals of Somali extraction, who had crossed into Kenya illegally, Kenyan police said on Sunday.
One policeman was severely wounded in the attack, which took place on Saturday night in the northeastern frontier town of Dadajabula, where the men were detained for being in Kenya without the necessary documentation.
The militants, who residents said belonged to Somalia’s al-Shabab Islamist insurgents, attacked four policemen, taking their firearms and a vehicle.
“In the process of taking the aliens to a police station, heavily armed militia men attacked and robbed a police driver of his Landcruiser after he failed to comply with orders to stop,” regional police boss Julius Kitili told Reuters.
“They used the police car to kidnap the officers and their guns, and to free the aliens.”
The policemen were later set free but the attackers kept the vehicle and their weapons, he said.
“The police car and two militia vehicles raced through a border town and are believed to have headed towards Kuda (in southern Somalia),” said businessman Abdullahi Murshid, who saw them pass through the border town of Doble.
“The militia on board are members of al-Shabab al-Islamia, who are active in southern Somalia,” he said.
Kitili said the two Britons were believed to have entered Kenya through the port city of Mombasa from neighbouring Tanzania and were headed for Somalia.
In June 2007, two Kenyan policemen that had been kidnapped by Islamist fighters were found murdered on the border with Somalia after the arrest of scores of suspected Somali Islamists trying to enter Kenya