16, June 2019
At least 10 Kenyan police officers have been killed after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by militants struck their vehicle near the Somali border.
Local Kenyan officials said those killed Saturday in Wajir County along the porous Kenya-Somali border were among 13 officers who were pursuing militants for an earlier assault in the troubled region.
This came a day after Somalia-based Takfiri al-Shabab terrorists claimed responsibility for kidnapping three Kenyan police reservists from Wajir in northeast Kenya.
“Last night, we captured a village called Konton in Wajir county. We left the village and took three Kenyan policemen with us,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations, said on Friday.
Al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabab militants have long carried out similar attacks on Kenya soil targeting security officers and the Nairobi government installations.
Al-Shabab has become one of Africa’s deadliest terrorist groups in recent years through its use of IEDs. In 2018 more than 100 Kenyan police forces were killed in a series of IED attacks along the extensive border.
In the latest attack in mid January, an apparent terrorist attack on an upscale hotel in the Kenyan capital Nairobi killed several people and sent shockwaves across the country.
Kenya is part of a regional peacekeeping operation that supports the Somali government in its battle against the militants.
The al-Shabab militant group, which once had control over many parts of Somalia, including the capital city Mogadishu, aims to topple the weak central government and push out the African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces, which are made up of soldiers from Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia, and other African countries.
In 2011, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali troops drove al-Shabab out of all major urban strongholds and ports, but the group still stages attacks on targets in smaller, more remote areas, posing a threat to peace.
The Somalia-based al-Shabab armed group often targets Kenyan security forces, vowing retribution after Kenya deployed troops to Somalia in 2011 to combat the fighters.
The Kenyans, along with allied Somali forces, wrested back control of the territory from al-Shabab after a spate of kidnappings on Kenyan soil.