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Kenya's border residents in panic over frequent attacks

Xinhua | Updated: 2014-12-04 19:20

GARISSA, Kenya - Residents in northern Kenya were plunged into panic again after two grenades were on Wednesday night hurled at a local restaurant, and injured two men.

"Following the frequent attacks on business premises owned by non Muslims in this town, I have been closing as early as 6:00 p.m. for fear of falling victim of the same... Little did I know that these people would target my business premises," said Pennina Mwema, the restaurant owner in the northern border town of Garissa, which has been rocked by several grenade attacks in recent weeks.

"It is unfortunate that we have become the targets of these attacks. Why do these people want to kill us when all we are doing is struggling to make ends meet for ourselves," Mwema added.

Ironically, the attack was carried out barely a day after the county security team led by Commissioner Rashid Khator made an impromptu tour of the town to assess the security situation.

Meanwhile, police in Garissa are looking for individuals behind the short message that have been circulating, indicating that there are planned terror attacks targeting non locals before Friday.

Garissa County Commissioner Rashid Khator, who confirmed having seen the messages, warned the residents not to be party of spreading propaganda aimed at frighten and instilling fear among the residents of non Somalis.

"We are aware of the short messages that have been circulating. But these are just propaganda because even after the Westgate attack there were similar text messages doing round," he said.

Khator warned the residents not to spread the text message as it causes more panic, and urged them to stay calm, remain vigilant and share any information with police.

"We are trying to establish the source of this short message and we will take legal action against anyone spreading it," he warned.

The blast was the latest in a series that have happened in the area. Most of the blasts are rarely solved and are pending before police.

Since Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia in October 2011, northern and parts of eastern Kenya have been hit by a series of blasts, with many targeting local security forces and humanitarian workers.

Several attacks believed to have been carried out by Al-Shabaab have occurred in Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa and Dadaab districts of northern Kenya even as the military reports gains against the Islamist group by capturing their military bases and killing scores of them.

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