Somalia: Al-Shabaab kills Kenyan police officers in Garissa


GARISSA, Kenya - At least four police officers were killed in Kenya's porous Garissa County in Dadaab, one of the world's most populous refugee camp which hosts thousands of refugees mainly from the war-torn Somalia, a country which has been witnessing instability for the last three decades.

According to Kipkirui Siele, the Deputy County Commissioner, the incident occured along Dadaab-Garissa Highway in Northeastern Kenya. The vehicle, he said, accidentally ran over an Improvised Explosive Device [IED] before being dismantled by a powerful explosion.

Those travelling in the vehicles were mainly members of the elite Border Patrol Uni, an elite squad from the General Service Unit [GSU] which is tasked to patrol the border. The officers from Abdi Suku camp were reportedly travelling to Garissa town.

“We have reports of a police vehicle hit by an explosive but I am yet to know the exact number of casualties,” Mr Siele said by phone.

A damaged police vehicle made rounds on social media as Kenyans condemned the incident which left huge depression on the rise. Several such incidents have been reported in different parts of the country over the years, the enemy being terror group Al-Shabaab.

The incident also comes almost a week after the country's Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki promised to open the Kenya-Somalia border which had been closed for several months. The opening, he said, is meant to reduce increasing cases of smuggling of counterfeits to Kenya.

Intensified attacks along Garissa and Lamu Counties have forced the government of Kenya to suspend construction of a road that links the Port of Lamu to Ethiopia and Southern Sudan commonly called Lapsset which is set to open up the region to Central Africa.

A security operation​ was​ launched in the area to flush out the militants believed to be operating from Boni Forest in Lamu County.

Since September, at​ ​least 30 deaths have been recorded in suspected terror attacks on the project and its workers, seven of them in December alone. There have been seven attacks since December 8, which left at least 14 people dead and valuables destroyed.

​In Somalia, security forces have been pursuing Al-Shabaab militants for the last six months, killing over 600 of them throughout the same period. The militants, intelligence officials say, have started crossing over to Kenya to avoid the crackdown, which is believed to be most organized in recent years.

Kenya is one of the countries which deployed her troops to Somalia and the team, which is serving under African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS], is set to leave once the local forces take over security responsibilities. Generally, there are 3,500 KDF soldiers in Somalia of the 22,000 strong AU force.


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