Three killed in IED attack as Al-Shabaab launches revenge in Kenya
IJARA, Kenya - Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants waged a deadly revenge attack in Garissa, sources said, barely a day after suffering massive losses in the same region following a KDF raid.
Special Forces from KDF had killed six militants on Friday in Jirole, Ijara constituency, capturing one alive, Northeastern regional commissioner Nick Ndalana confirmed.
But on Sunday afternoon, a Toyota Land Cruiser was dismembered after detonating an IED in Korahindi location, which is situated between the Sangailu and Hulugho towns.
The two towns have registered the highest number of Al-Shabaab attacks this year, which have often targeted security forces and non-locals especially teachers and medics, authorities said.
A driver and two occupants were killed instantly after the explosion. The vehicle, which serves as an ambulance in the region, was ferrying a patient to Masalani referral hospital.
Two others; a woman and a National Police Reservist [NPR] were critically injured and subsequently airlifted by KDF for special treatment, Abdulmalik Ali, a resident told Garowe Online.
"The ambulance was carrying a patient and her family members and police reservists," he said in a text, confirming that two of the dead people were accompanying a patient to the hospital.
Northeastern regional commissioner Nick Ndalana has since confirmed the Ijara attack.
Special Forces from KDF have already secured the area and have launched a manhunt for the terrorists, who are believed to be operating from the vicinity.
The KDF team is giving specialized treatment to survivors, even as another team combed the area to un-plant Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDs] which are believed to have been strategically set along the road by the militants.
"I have seen the KDF team on the ground. Their chopper has airlifted the survivors for specialized treatment and another team is doing surveillance," he added.
Ijara has lately been used as a recruitment and training center for the militants, who are also targeting locals working with Kenya security forces and their families, authorities said.
Sophia Abdi, the Ijara MP, recently asked the government to deploy more KDF officers to the region. According to her, the militants had torched several houses belonging to NPR officers in pursuit of them.
The attack, which is yet to be confirmed by security officers, is believed to be a retaliation for KDF onslaught which left two militants dead on Friday. The one who was captured is being interrogated.
“The one who was captured is being interrogated as the operations go on,” Ndalana told reporters on Friday after the sophisticated operation.
Wreckages of the badly dismembered ambulance were scattered all over the road in photos taken by Mr. Abdulmalik. Another ambulance had been dispatched for emergency evacuation in the scene.
In his stern warning on Friday, Ndalana also revealed that some militants had been sighted in several areas in northeastern, asking drivers and security forces to be careful due to possible implantation of IEDs by the militants.
Since January, the Al-Shabaab militants have waged 18 attacks mainly in Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, and Lamu, killing over 20 people according to statistics issued by the police earlier this month.
The attacks have compelled the Teachers Service Commission [TSC] to withdraw non-local teachers from the region, precipitating a learning crisis, causing outrage from among local politicians.
In a meeting held by President Uhuru Kenyatta in State House last month, local leaders were told to ask residents to "expose the militants". The president was convinced that some locals aid the militants in carrying out the attacks.
To thwart activities carried out by the militants, the government has also imposed sanctions on contraband goods. Al-Shabaab, although significantly degraded, has managed to carry out low scale sporadic attacks in East Africa, AFRICOM noted.