NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 20 – Five police officers were on Monday killed when they were attacked by suspected Al Shabaab militants in Mandera.
Four others survived – some with injuries – when a vehicle they were travelling in was blown up by a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) by the terrorist group at a road connecting Kutulo and Chuma Mrefu near the border with Somalia.
“Five police officers lost their lives,” Police Spokesman George Kinoti said in a statement sent to newsrooms from the National Police Service headquarters. The officers were in a Land Cruiser escorting a bus christened Desert Cruiser to Mandera from Wajir.
“Bravely, the other officers managed to secure the bus which arrived in Elwak safely with the passengers,” he said, “more security personnel have been deployed to the area to pursue the attackers.”
Mandera Governor Ali Roba who condemned the incident blamed police for not acting on intelligence information about the attack long before it occurred.
“The information about their presence was long shared by the locals,” he said. Police did not comment on his accusations, but appealed for more information from the public.
The killing is the latest in a long line of attacks in Kenya’s restive northeast.
The Shabaab, East Africa’s long-time Al-Qaeda branch, is headquartered in Somalia where it is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by 22,000 African Union troops, including Kenyan soldiers.
The Somali-led insurgents have staged repeated attacks in Kenya, including the killing of at least 67 people at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in 2013 and the massacre of 148 people at a university in Garissa in April 2015.