Lamu, KENYA: More than 10 administration police officers narrowly escaped death after their vehicle, a land cruiser, missed running over an Improvised Explosive Device-IED.
The IED had been planted in their way by Al-Shabaab militants at Mambore-Mkokoni area,Lamu East on Tuesday evening.
The officers were on normal patrol when the incident happened at around 6.30pm near the Kiunga Kengen Power Station along the Kiunga-Mkokoni road in Lamu East.
While confirming the incident,Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said an unknown number of Alshabaab militants who were hiding in the bushes close by shot at the vehicle carrying the officers just shortly after it had evaded running over the IED.
Gitiyo said the officers were able to detect the presence of the device on the road and therefore tactically avoided running over it.
He said a fire exchange ensued between the Alshabaab and the officers for about 20 minutes before the officers overpowered the terrorists who fled into the nearby bushes.
No one was injured in the incident while the vehicle’s windscreen was shattered.
“ The terrorists who were hiding in the bushes nearby sprayed the vehicle with bullets. Our officers responded immediately and managed to overpower the militants. They fled into the bushes. Luckily, all our offices escaped unhurt. It’s only the land cruiser’s windscreen which was shattered. It was towards darkness when the incident happened so we are still waiting for more details from the ground,” said Kitiyo.
Kitiyo said the few Alshabaab remaining in the county are getting frustrated by the day as the security forces draw closer to them.
“The Alshabaab are really getting frustrated since their IED plans don’t seem to be working anymore as our officers are normally able to detect such and evade.Whenever they plant an IED,they are always lying in wait close by after which they shoot at the vehicle immediately the explosive goes off.But of late,more and more IEDs are being detonated by our officers and this is really getting them on edge.That means we have them where we want them,”sid Kitiyo.
Linda Boni operation director Joseph Kanyiri also confirmed the incident adding that its highly probable that the militants dropped the explosive as they fled from security agencies who are conducting a massive hunt for Alshabaab inside the Boni forest and nearby areas.
“ All our men are accounted for safely. It was an experience though.We will not relent. We have already launched a manhunt for the masterminds of the attack,”said Kanyiri.
On Monday, five Al-Shabaab terrorists were killed and six AK-47 assault rifles, 321 rounds of ammunition, three grenades and explosives recovered by the KDF at Bodhei area on the Lamu-Garissa border.
Other terrorists were reported to have escaped with multiple bullet injuries during the ambush laid by the KDF in the area.
The Mambore-Mkokoni Junction where the incident happened lies within the Linda Boni operation zones and is roughly about 100KM from Bodhei where five Alshabaab militants were killed on Monday.