LAMU, KENYA, At least six Kenyan police officers were killed on Tuesday and three others were injured when the vehicle they were travelling in ran over an improvised explosive device (IED) in the coastal region of Lamu.
A senior local police officer who confirmed the incident said two other officers are still missing after the incident which took place in the Mangai area of Lamu County.
“Six officers were killed and three others injured when their vehicle drove over an IED which was planted along the Hindi-Kiunga Road in Lamu,” a senior police officer who sought anonymity said by telephone.
Security officers have launched a massive search for the missing colleagues who were in the truck which was ferrying some 15 officers from the Rapid Deployment Unit.
“The injured officers suffered from multiple injuries and have been rushed to the hospital,” the officer said. He added that the incident took place in an area believed to be dangerous since it was infiltrated by Islamist militants from Somalia who had been roaming in the nearby vast Boni Forest.
The latest incident came barely two weeks after Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militants attacked a Kenya Defence Force (KDF) camp in Elade in southern Somalia, killing some 100 soldiers in the worst attack since the Kenyan troops were deployed into the neighbouring Horn of Africa nation in 2011 as part of an African peacekeeping force.
The terror incident comes at a time when the security operation to flush out Al-Shabaab militants from Boni Forest in Lamu County has been extended to cover four key areas: Pandanguo, Bothei, Pangani and Witu.
Recently police released the names and photos of five suspected Al-Shabaab operatives who might be plotting terrorist attacks in the coastal. They include one female, a possible suicide bomber, by the name of Shamim Wanjiru Hussein.
The coastal city has witnessed relative calm since last June when the police foiled attack at military base in the coastal town of Lamu where Al-Shabaab key leaders were killed including British jihadist Thomas Evans.
Several Al-Shabaab militants have recently been killed by KDF soldiers in Somalia by taking over major towns that were under the control