Kenya: Red Alert After Shabaab Attack in Lamu

Security agencies in Coast are on red alert following a brazen gun attack on 10 police officers in Lamu yesterday, barely 24 hours after at least 16 Al-Shabaab fighters slipped into the country from Somalia.

The officers from Border Patrol Unit narrowly escaped death after suspected Shabaabs opened fire on their vehicle on the Lamu-Gamba road in Nyongoro.

Overpowered

“It was reported that while escorting motor vehicles from Lamu to Gamba, the lead vehicle, GKB 253T, came under heavy attack at Lango La Simba area at about 1115 hrs,” reads a police report seen by the Nation.

The officers responded and a heavy exchange of fire ensued for about 10 minutes before the attackers were overpowered, according to the report.

The vehicles in the convoy, which were behind the lead escort car, were stopped as the officers battled the armed men, the report said.

“The escort vehicles, which were behind, reinforced the lead car and the attackers disappeared into the nearby bushes,” added the report. Spent cartridges were found at the scene.

Intelligence reports

The Sunday attack happened on a day intelligence reports indicated that at around 5am on Saturday, 16 suspected Shabaabs crossed from Somalia into Garissa before entering Tana River County.

The suspects allegedly used a canoe to cross River Tana that separates the two counties.

“After crossing River Tana, the suspected militants divided themselves into small groups and dispersed in different directions,” reads the police brief.

The intelligence report further noted that the militants were likely to conduct terrorist attacks on security installations and other vital infrastructure, including laying ambushes on public service vehicles within the county.

“It would be imperative for security personnel in the area to be extra vigilant to forestall any possible attacks,” added the report.

In Lamu, County Police Commander Moses Murithi confirmed that the heavily armed militants ambushed the vehicle that was carrying about 10 officers at Nyongoro.

He said combined units of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and police are on the militants’ trail.

The county police commander, however, assured the public, especially the commuters on the Lamu-Witu-Garsen road, that their security is guaranteed.

“The militants have made a habit of conducting attacks on certain areas, especially Nyongoro, and running back into the forest. Now that we have their tracks marked, we’re pursuing them to the bitter end,” Mr Murithi said.

Coast regional police boss Gabriel Musau said security agencies are on the trail of the attackers after their failed attack.

“They attempted to attack the vehicle at Nyongoro, but they did not hit our officers. No casualties have been reported,” Mr Musau told Nation on phone.

amohamed@ke.nationmedia.com

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