At least two Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers have been killed as they responded to a suspected Al-Shabaab attack on a General Service Unit (GSU) team at Mlima wa Faru, Lamu County.
10 other GSU officers had been injured when the armoured personnel carrier (APC) they were travelling in ran over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
Brigadier Zipporah Kioko, the Chief of the KDF Strategic Communications said the KDF troops stationed in the area responded to the attack when their vehicle was hit.
“They moved swiftly to secure the area and recover the wounded. Regrettably, during the recovery operation, two KDF personnel were fatally wounded in a follow-up ambush,” Brig. Kioko said.
The explosive is suspected to have been planted on the road by Al-Shabaab militants at the scene which lies between Pandanguo and Witu.
Lamu West Deputy County Commissioner Gabriel Kioni confirmed the two incidents adding that the GSU officers were on their routine patrol within the Pandanguo route which borders the vast Boni forest.
“The APC was first hit by a roadside bomb and when the KDF team responded aboard a Toyota Landcruiser, they were hit and we have casualties,” a senior government official said.
The injured were evacuated to various hospitals and are undergoing treatment.
“After the initial attack, the militants came out of the forest and tried to attack the officers but the KDF response team arrived and were also ambushed,” he added.
The Boni forest operation was launched in 2015 with its initial name being Operation Linda Boni to flush out militants believed to be hiding inside the dense Boni Forest.
Lamu attacks recently
At least 15 security officers have been killed in separate attacks in Lamu and Garissa counties in the last week.
On June 13, eight KDF troops were also killed in Bodhei at the border of Lamu and Garissa counties after their vehicle ran over a landmine as they were conducting a mobile patrol. The vehicle they were travelling in ran over a landmine, killing them on the spot.
The same day, another separate attack was also reported near Mararani where suspected members of the Al-Shabaab group attacked security officers using a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).
On July 7, two police officers from the Quick Response Unit (QRU) were also killed after an armoured vehicle they were travelling in was hit by an explosive near the Kenya-Somalia border.
More security personnel have been deployed in the area following the persistent recent attacks and reports that the terrorists could be planning a major attack.
The region has witnessed similar attacks in the last few weeks.
The attacks pose a major test to both Kenya and Somalia which had planned to reopen the border points between the two countries -which were closed 12 years ago due to the threat of terrorism -in phases, within the next three months.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said this would ensure the resumption of trade between the two countries and facilitate the movement of people.
The three border points were closed in 2011 at the height of constant invasion and attacks by terrorists.
The June 18 attack comes in the wake of the marking of nine years since the terrorists attacked Mpeketoni and surrounding areas killing 90 people and displacing many.
It also came after CS Kindiki visited Lamu for a three-day tour to assess the security situation in the region and said the government will do all it takes to fight and end the terror menace in the country.
“We have already set aside Sh20 billion to purchase advanced security equipment, including armoured personnel carrier vehicles, drones and other gadgets,” CS said.