One dies, several injured as Al-Shabaab runs over police station in Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya - The Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants raided a police station in northeastern Kenya for the second time in as many weeks, in an attack that lasted for several hours as security forces struggled to repulse the terrorists, who had besieged the police post.
Before raiding the Yumbis Police station in Garissa, the militants looted a telecommunication mask belonging to a local telecom company, in a move that geared towards paralyzing communication within the region, hence giving them easy time to antagonize security forces.
Heavy gunfight broke out between the militants whose exact number could not be established and the police officers, mainly drawn from the elite Border Patrol Unit, which guards large swathes of northeastern Kenya, a region which is prone to Al-Shabaab attacks.
For several hours, the police officers fired at the militants as they used other improvised systems to call for reinforcement from security forces stationed in different parts of Garissa. It is not clear if the officers were able to get help from colleagues in the surrounding stations.
One security officer who spoke to Garowe Online on condition of anonymity said an officer succumbed to injuries sustained from bullet wounds while three others were critically injured. The injured officers were taken to Garissa Hospital for emergency medication.
However, he added, all the militants managed to escape to nearby bushes after being overwhelmed by the BPU team, which regained control after several hours of intense fighting. The militants are believed to have crossed over to neighboring Somalia.
Northeastern Regional Commander Rono Bunei said security forces are responding to the attack at Yumbis Rural Border Patrol Unit [RBPU] without giving further details, in a statement which he sent to the newsrooms on Wednesday night during the attack.
According to a security report, the militants gained entry into the base after hauling explosives that targeted the officers. This, the report adds, forced the security team to respond by opening fire indiscriminately, but was also met with tough resistance from the assailants.
"A loud explosion was heard at about 6 pm. BPU YUMBIS under heavy Al-Shabaab attack," the report says, adding that the military officers based at Modika Barracks in Garissa were immediately activated to rescue the officers from the unprecedented attack.
Modika Barracks was commissioned in December 2019 by President Uhuru Kenyatta and was strategically build in Garissa to act as a temporary Forward Operating Base for KDF troops stationed in Somalia. The Barracks, Gen. Robert Kibochi had said, would also act as the main security operation center within the Northern Frontier Districts.
Coincidentally, Yumbis Police Station came under attack on a similar date exactly one year ago. During the melee, police officers managed to repulse the attack, leaving at least three Al-Shabaab militants dead, security officials said in a statement in 2019.
In 2015, the Al-Shabaab militants raised their flag in the Yumbis area, a move that triggered deployment of the Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] troops in the region. The troops secured the area before officially handing it over to the Rapid Border Patrol Unit from the police department.