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Al-Shabaab raid another police station in Kenya, casualties reported

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - Al-Shabaab militants raided a police station in Mandera North on Friday night in the latest onslaught against Kenya, reports have emerged.

For several hours, police officers from Olla AP post engaged the gunmen in fierce gunfight although the number of casualties could not be established.

Olla police post is located along the Mandera-Moyale highway which is currently under construction. It's situated near the Kenya-Ethiopia border.

The patrol base hosts Administration Police (AP) whose main duty is to guard administrators and buildings besides ascertaining the nationality of commuters.

Casualties not yet known

A teacher in the nearby school in Banisa told Garowe Online that "I have called a police officer from the post and he's yet to respond to calls.

The teacher, who sought anonymity added: "There was a heavy gunfight and I could hear it from a distance. I can't be certain about three deaths."

Authorities in Kenya are yet to issue a statement following the latest attack which could raise eyebrows on Kenya's commitment to the Al-Shabaab war.

Shortly after the attack, reports indicate, the heavily armed militants burnt a telecommunication mast belonging to Safaricom.

The mast was completely dismembered thus leading to communication breakdown in the sparsely populated region in northeastern Kenya.

Mandera worst hit with the attacks

Such masts, police spokesman Charles Owino said early this week, are destroyed "to disorient communication among the police when pursuing Al-Shabaab".

Friday's attack is the first in Mandera North in as many years. While Al-Shabaab has often launched an attack in Mandera, only the Eastern and Southern regions are affected.

Mandera East and Mandera South (Lafey) have recorded the highest number of Al-Shabaab attacks since 2011 when Kenya sent troops to Somalia.

A similar attack in Garissa

Earlier this week, the militants raided Soretho Police station in Garissa County, killing four people among them school children, police said.

The attackers also destroyed a Safaricom mast before vanishing to the nearby thickets, Owino said in a statement.

During the daring attack at the post, three militants were killed on spot. Troops from KDF's Special Forces were deployed to the region, police said.

Both Garissa, Wajir, and Mandera have recorded at least eight incidents involving Al-Shabaab raid and abduction in the last one month.

Al-Shabaab threatens more daring attacks

On Sunday, the Al-Shabaab militants threatened to wage more daring attacks against Kenya and the US, accusing the two of "forceful occupation in Muslim lands".

Al-Shabaab said that "we shall target tourists and interests of the two countries. Let them prepare for sleepless nights".

The militants raided Camp Simba base which hosts US Marine and KDF in Lamu, killing three Americans besides destroying aircraft, AFRICOM said.

Gen Stephen Townsend, the commander AFRICOM said: "We have sent our generals to Kenya to ascertain the situation at the ground."

Troops from elite East Africa Response Forces (EARF) had been deployed to give reinforcement to their counterparts at the base.


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