Al-Shabaab militants torch houses in Kenya


NAIROBI, Kenya - Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants on Tuesday torched houses in the coastal region where they have been fighting with multi-agency security teams, leading to the death of at least one person, with authorities now zoning the region as a Special Operations Zone.

The incident took place in Widhu area within Lamu County, not from where a Kenya Defence Forces [KDF] helicopter crashed, leaving several soldiers dead on Monday night. The cause of the accident is under review but analysts have ruled out possible involvement of Al-Shabaab militants.

Witnesses said the gang torched houses in the raid before escaping. No arrest has been made. This is the latest incident to happen in the area amid heightened operations to address the terror-related menace, The Star reports.

The county has been experiencing Al-Shabaab attacks in recent months, forcing the government to deploy more troops. Last week, a KDF vehicle was completely dismembered after running over an Improvised Explosive Device [IED], leaving several soldiers critically injured.

Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki on Wednesday announced plans to deploy KDF's Special Operations Force Brigade which comprises of Rangers Strike Regiment and Special Forces to Lamu and Northern Kenya to help in dealing with the Al-Shabaab menace.

The special-trained troops will be joined by elite forces from multi-agency teams and according to him, the group has the capacity to end Al-Shabaab's persistent attacks. The soldiers will closely work with locals in identifying those who have been causing mayhem in the four counties namely Lamu, Mandera, Garissa, and Wajir.

The state has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Salama, Juhudi, Widhu Marafa, Mashogoni, and Ukumbi in Lamu West as part of efforts to enhance operations targeting the terrorists who hide in Boni forest.

The terrorists have been attacking places near the Kenyan border by using guns and explosives leaving dozens dead and many injured. The recent attacks have forced the government to suspend plans to reopen the Kenya-Somalia border.


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