A hunt for suspected Al-Shabaab militants who fled with gunshot wounds has been intensified in Taksile and Pandanguo, Lamu County, shortly after 10 other militants were killed during an ambush on their hideout by Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers on Monday morning.
During the 6.45am ambush, KDF officers were able to recover seven AK-47 rifles and assorted ammunition.
Security sources who talked to the Nation on condition of anonymity since they are not authorised to speak to the media said they expect the Al-Shabaab death toll to rise since several others fled with multiple injuries.
Emerging details on the attack also reveal that the killings were conducted by KDF officers who were forced to patrol on foot due to bad weather in the area currently.
Since Sunday, it has been raining heavily in the area and it is generally cloudy, a situation that forced the soldiers to conduct the patrols on foot instead of using choppers.
The attack was launched deep inside Boni Forest at Taksile which is about 25 kilometres from Pandanguo village in Lamu West.
“We were patrolling on foot and we spotted them deep inside the forest at a place called Taksile. We decided to attack them and an exchange of fire ensued for about half an hour. We managed to kill 10 of them while three of my colleagues were injured,” said an officer.
He added, “A good number of the militants fled with bloody gunshot injuries and we expect the death toll to rise. We are still pursuing them.”
Another officer said the cloudy weather was hindering effective crackdown on the militants inside the dense forest especially during the morning hours but was quick to say that they will not relent until the militants are neutralised.
In his statement sent to media houses on Monday, KDF Spokesman Paul Njuguna urged locals to share information with the security officials as the fleeing and wounded terrorists may seek assistance from them.
“The locals are urged to participate in weeding out lurking terror elements in their midst in order to assist in the progressive pacification of Lamu County,” said Col Njuguna.
Meanwhile, locals in areas prone to Al-Shabaab attacks in Pandanguo, Jima, Poromoko and Basuba Ward in Lamu have lauded the killing of the 10 militants.
Mr Adan Golja said he was very happy with the new development, adding that the move will help bring peace and stability in Lamu.
“At least that will boost the morale of our security agencies combing the Boni Forest. We are tired of hearing Al-Shabaab killing our people and security officers,” said Mr Golja.
Mrs Hagodana Ali from Basuba said she was impressed by the dedicated efforts OF KDF in fighting and eliminating Al-Shabaab elements in Lamu.
“I treat the killing of the 10 Al-Shabaab militants as a huge victory both to Lamu and Kenya as a whole. Let’s cooperate with our security agencies in ending the war on terrorism,” said Mrs Hagodana.
The killing of the 10 came just a month after five KDF soldiers were killed and 10 others injured when their truck ran over an explosive device at Sankuri on the Kiunga-Hindi road in Lamu East as they were distributing water to locals.
The incident occurred on August 29.
On August 8 this year, six KDF soldiers were killed and five others injured when their vehicle ran over an IED at Kwa Omollo Bridge on the Bodhei-Bar’goni road.
All the attacks are believed to have been launched by Al-Shabaab militants.