Five police officers were Tuesday morning feared dead and three others critically injured when a vehicle they were travelling in drove over an explosive device suspected to have been planted by Al-Shabaab militants along the Hindi-Kiunga road in Lamu.
The officers were heading to the Usalama Camp located at the Lamu-Somalia border when the incident happened just a few kilometers from Milimani in Lamu East sub-county at around 11am.
According to sources who spoke to the Nation on condition of anonymity, suspected Al-Shabaab militants torched the lorry after it was hit by the improvised explosive device (IED). The militants then escaped into the Boni Forest.
“It is true that an RDU lorry heading to Usalama Camp, where the security wall is being built was attacked by suspected Al-Shabaab at around 11am. The incident happened near Baure, just a few kilometers past Milimani. Five of our 10 security officers that were in the vehicle are feared dead while three others are critically injured. Officers have already gone to the ground and expect more information later,” said the officer.
When contacted for confirmation, Linda Boni Operation Director Mr James Ole Serian said he was on the ground at the moment but refused to give details on the matter.
“I have gone to the ground. Police spokesperson will communicate with you,” said Mr Serian in a text sent to the Nation.
The incident comes just a month after an Administration Police officer was killed in a similar incident at Bodhei in Lamu East sub-county on Christmas day.
On December 16 last year, two people were killed and an AP officer injured at Milihoi in Lamu County when over 20 suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked a lorry that was heading to Hindi from Mpeketoni to deliver building blocks.
On July 13 last year, four women and a baby were killed after a police Land Cruiser they were travelling in ran over an IED at Omollo Bridge, 10 kilometres from the Bar’goni military camp.
The IED was also suspected to have been planted by the Al-Shabaab.
The incident comes at a time when the operation to flush out Al-Shabaab militants out of the expansive Boni forest dubbed ‘Operation Linda Boni’ enters its fifth month.
Earlier this month the government extended the operation to four key areas of Lamu West sub-county which include Witu, Pandanguo, Pangani and Bodhei.