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KDF repulses deadly Al-Shabaab attack in Kenya

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

LAMU, Kenya - Troops selected from KDF's Special Forces on Saturday foiled an Al-Shabaab raid in Lamu, coastal Kenya, officials said, in what could have been a "catastrophic" attack by the militants.

Police reports indicate that several militants attempted to attack construction workers in Milihoi, along Lamu-Garsen road, which has been under construction for several months now.

Armed with AK-47 rifles and Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDs], the militants' struct on Saturday 9 am local time, leading to a fierce gunfight with KDF troops manning the site, police said.

One of the workers who spoke to the media said the militants used the same route that they used to attack former Principal Secretary Mariam El-May, who would succumb several months after treatment in South Africa.

Moses Miriithi, the Lamu Police Commander, confirmed the attack, adding that KDF troops managed to repulse the attackers, although he did not reveal the number of casualties.

"There was an attempted attack at H-Young construction site Saturday morning at Milihoi," he told reporters, without disclosing the number of Al-Shabaab attackers.

"Our soldiers who were on duty managed to contain the attackers, stopping the intended attack," added the police boss, who also conceded that the region is prone to Al-Shabaab attacks.

To tame future attacks, all passenger vehicles playing the route must have a police escort, failure to which, business owners will have their license revoked, he added.

Lamu has been a hotbed of Al-Shabaab terror attacks, recording a total of seven incidents since the beginning of 2020. At least eight people have died from the attacks within the same period, officials said.

For instance, three Americans died on Jan. 5 within the same county when the militants raided heavily fortified Manda Airfield, which hosts US Marine Corps. Since then, security has been intensified in the coastal county.

Early this month, US Africa Command confirmed the death of Bashir Qorgab, the Al-Shabaab commander linked to the Manda Airfield raid at Saakow town in Somalia. His wife was also killed by the drone strike.

Saturday's victory against Al-Shabaab comes barely three days after 12 militants were killed just near the vicinity, within Boni Forest, which has been used for recruitment and training of the militants. One operative was captured.

In the previous week, six militants were also killed by KDF in the Ijara constituency, with one also captured. The two operations are the most successful in recent weeks, officials said.

In February, suspected militants torched an excavator that was working on the road and a lorry that was ferrying cement at the Lamu Port. In January, three passengers were killed by masked men who attacked passenger buses at the Nyangoro area.

Statistics released by the Kenya police indicate that so far, there have been 17 Al-Shabaab attacks since January in Kenya. Over 23 people have lost their lives in relation to the raids.

Although the KDF has been vigilant in high-risk northeastern region, the militants have often targeted security forces, non-locals, and local National Police Reservists, police said.

The government is also monitoring the porous Kenya-Somalia border, where smugglers, mostly Al-Shabaab sympathizers, are said to be sneaking contraband goods to the country. The measures are intended to deprive the Al-Shabaab financiers field to make money.


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