Police repulse another Al-Shabaab attack in Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya - Police officers from multi-agency team guarding sections of northeastern Kenya on Monday repulsed a would-be devastating attack, a top official has confirmed, amid resurgent Al-Shabaab raids within the region.
The militants had implanted a homemade bomb along Bura-East-Garissa Lappset road in Garissa County which almost blew off the police officers' vehicle, northeastern regional coordinator Nicodemus Ndalana said, leading to a fierce gunfight.
For several hours, he added, the unrelenting police officers from the Special Forces engaged the militants, who would later be subdued before escaping to the nearby bushes along the road.
“We got information that the suspected militants were around and our police officers were on patrol. After they [militants] noticed the vehicle missed the IED they had planted, they started shooting at the police officers,” said the officer.
Although the number of militants could not be established, a senior officer told Garowe Online that they are estimated to be between 10-15. It's not clear how they managed to cross over from neighboring Somalia.
The officers were from Bura East Police Station, which is one of the stations within the porous Kenya-Somalia border. The government of Kenya recently closed the border as a measure to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to authorities, the rear right tyre of the police Toyota Land Cruiser was punctured by an enemy bullet. The vehicle’s body also had five bullet holes, Ndalana said, adding that no casualties were reported.
Northern Frontier Districts region is prone to numerous Al-Shabaab attacks, a move that informed heavy deployment of the security forces both from the police and the Kenya Defense Forces by the government.
This year alone, the Somalia-based militants have raided the region 20 times, the highest within the same period in previous years, according to details filed by the Ministry of Interior and Coordination.
Over the weekend, the militants had tried to raid Khorof Kharar police post in the neighboring Wajir County in an attack that was repulsed by the forces. A telecommunication mask of Safaricom was destroyed by the militants, officials said.
This, Thomas Ngeywa, the Wajir Police Commandant said, forced the KDF team to launch a series of airstrikes along the border, which targeted the militants. The KDF team is yet to issue a statement on the number of casualties.
Usually, the militants target security forces and non-locals, a move that forced the government to evacuate teachers who come from other parts of Kenya. At the moment, both Garissa, Wajir, and Mandera counties are confronting an inadequate number of teaching professionals.
There is also a confidential report which indicates that the KDF team is currently pursuing local agents from the three counties, who are said to be helping the Somalia-based militants run a conduit of tax extortion targeting civilians in the region due to dwindling financial fortunes in Somalia.
Although the group remains significantly degraded, it can, however, wage small to large scale sporadic attacks within Somalia and across the border.
In the past few months, the Al-Shabaab has suffered numerous setbacks due to endless ground combats and airstrikes in the war-torn nation.