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KDF soldiers, police officer engage in fierce shoot out in Kenya

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - A mistaken identity incident left two Kenyan Defense Forces [KDF] soldiers and a police officer badly injured in northeastern Kenya on Tuesday night, a police report indicates, following hours of a gunfight that would have not taken place after all.

The two soldiers from the Special Forces unit opened fire at a police officer who was reportedly coming from a female friend's house at night, leading to a fierce gunfight that lasted for several hours, exposing both parties to serious injuries.

Fafi Sub County police commandant George Sangalo said the security officers mistook the other for Al-Shabaab militants, leading to an unprecedented incident. Al-Shabaab militants have lately been waging deadly attacks within the region.

“Constable Emmanuel Ngao was challenged by KDF soldiers, Senior Private Jeremy Malusi and David Mbugua. He mistook the officers to be militants, he shot and seriously injured them,” reads sections of the police report.

The soldiers, who were armed with AK 47 rifles, shot the police officer on the leg, leaving him badly injured. All three officers were taken to Bura East Sub County Hospital for further treatment, the report added.

“The three officers sustained gunshot injuries and were taken to Bura East Sub-County Hospital and are in critical condition,” adds the report, without disclosing if the officers could be airlifted to Nairobi for further treatment.

It was the first time in as many months such as a unique incident was recorded. Being a terror hotspot, northeastern Kenya is flooded with security officers from different disciplines from among the KDF and police officers.

For instance, from among the police, the dreaded Anti-Terror Protection Unit, Anti-Stock Theft Unit, and National Police Reservists work within the region. From among KDF, both Kenya Air Force and Kenya Army regiments are also stationed in the region.

Although the teams work under a similar multi-agency team, they, however, operate differently, a move that could have contributed to the miscommunication. The team is entrusted with keeping law and order besides pursuing terrorists.

Garissa region has been witnessing terror activities in recent months and is the worst affected this year after Wajir and Mandera. There has been a total of 20 cases so far, which left slightly over 26 people dead according to police records.

A fortnight ago, the militants attacked a local police post in the neighboring Wajir where they are believed to have looted the armory. A nearby Safaricom telecommunication mast was also destroyed, leading to a grand crackdown against the militants.

KDF team launched a series of airstrikes along the border after the incident where dozens of militants are believed to have died. The operation has been going for a couple of days now with an intention of securing the border from the Somalia-based militants.

The number of security forces along the region could significantly increase by 2022 as part of enhancing sophisticated security according to a report published by the Kenya Defense Forces. KDF, the report indicates, will be deployed in the region when the withdrawal from Somalia is finalized.

Under the Somalia Transition Plan, the KDF team and those working in the African Union Mission in Somalia would leave the war-torn nation by December 2021. Kenya will be relying on improved border surveillance to tighten security in the region.


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