LAMU (Xinhua) --
At least one police officer was killed and two
others sustained serious injuries while another three are
missing after a vehicle they were travelling in was ambushed by
al-Shabab militants in the coastal Lamu county on Thursday,
Coast Regional Police Commander Noah
Mwivanda confirmed the incident in Milihoi area, which paralyzed
transport in the region.
There were six police officers in the vehicle, he said.
Mwivanda said Somali militants ambushed the police officers
who were returning to their camp in Mpeketoni after regular
patrols in al-Shabab-prone areas.
He said the ambush prompted a fierce gunfight with
insurgents, who later vanished into the forest.
"Our officers have been injured and might need referrals," he
told Xinhua by phone.
The police commander said two officers have been hospitalized
while the search for the other three is ongoing.
A Kenya Red Cross official who requested anonymity said that
the attack has paralyzed operations along Garsen-Lamu Road.
All public service vehicles from Mombasa to Lamu are stuck at
Mkunubi area while commuter buses from Lamu have been barred
Hundreds of passengers were stranded on the road as security
forces engage the militants in heavy shootout.
Al-Shabab militants have changed tactics and resorted to
using improvised explosive devices to carry out attacks in parts
of the coastal and northeastern regions, according to police.
The militant group is believed to have fighters operating in
the area’s Boni forest that has poor communication network and
terrains, slowing down police operations.
Kenyan police pursue al-Shabab
suspects 'after being spotted in Lamu'
LAMU (Xinhua) -- Kenyan
police said Sunday they are pursuing a large group of suspected
al-Shabab militants who were spotted in an area in the coastal
county of Lamu.
Locals in the Ndeu area had reported seeing a group of about
50 heavily armed suspected al-Shabab militants heading to a
Kenya electricity generating company (KenGen) power station,
which is located just a few kilometers away from Milihoi area
where suspected militants killed a police officer on Thursday.
Charles Mbatu, Lamu County Administration Police Coordinating
Commander, on Sunday confirmed having received the report on the
sighting of suspected al-Shabab militants but said the group was
likely security officers who have been conducting a security
operation in the area since the Milihoi attack on Thursday.
Mbatu said there is a huge presence of the Kenya Defense
Forces (KDF) and regular police who have been deployed to the
area since the recent attack and that such a huge presence could
easily be confused for something else by someone not in the
He however encouraged members of the public to continue
cooperating with security officers and report any suspicious
persons or sightings to the police as soon as they do so as to
allow for prompt interventions.
"We received reports from members of the public that
suspicious persons had been seen at Ndeu.
"We immediately dispatched a team of soldiers there.
"They have combed that area but haven’t seen a thing.
"We think locals could have easily confused the huge number
of KDF soldiers deployed for something else," Mbatu said.
In the Saturday sighting however, locals had reported they
suspected the armed men to be al-Shabab militants since they
wore hooded plain jungle green uniforms and carried several
black flags with white inscriptions, synonymous with those of
Kenyan police intensify
crackdown on al-Shabab after
Milihoi police killing
LAMU (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s security agencies in the coastal county
of Lamu have intensified a crackdown on suspected al-Shabab
militants following an ambush that killed one officer and
injuring two others on Thursday.
Lamu County Administration Police Coordinating Commander
Charles Mbatu said the crackdown is concentrated around the area
of the attack at Milihoi and areas toward and around the Boni
forest where the militants are said to have fled shortly after
the daytime attack.
"We lost an officer who had been injured in the attack.
"Two others were injured.
Two vehicles are also torched.
"We are still very much on the ground pursuing the suspects,"
Mbatu said in Lamu.
The Boni forest has been used as the hideout by militants
when they launch attacks in Lamu.
There were reports that the militants have a well-equipped
base deep inside the forest.
The scene of the latest attack, on the Lamu-Garsen road, is a
secluded location where militants launched tens of attacks on
security and civilian vehicles in the past.
Two vehicles, the police vehicle and a private saloon car
that was heading to Lamu, were torched during the daring ambush.
The police vehicle had six officers on board.
Three remain accounted for, said Mbatu.
The private vehicle had two occupants who managed to escape,
though their whereabouts remain unknown, raising fears that they
could have been killed by the militants after they fled into the
bushes for cover or taken hostage by the militants.
The attack paralyzed transport on the road for hours.
Transport has since resumed amid heavy security presence on
the road and surrounding bushes.