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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Death toll 6 as 3 more bodies are found after Shabaab attack

Arif Kassim Athman,21,a trainee pilot who had accompanied his aunt,Housing PS Mariam El Maawy on a road trip to Witu before they were ambushed by suspected Alshabaab militants.He is missing.
Arif Kassim Athman,21,a trainee pilot who had accompanied his aunt,Housing PS Mariam El Maawy on a road trip to Witu before they were ambushed by suspected Alshabaab militants.He is missing.

The death toll in the latest al Shabaab terror attack in Lamu has risen to six.

That brings to 15 the death toll in Lamu terror attacks in seven days. On July 7 nine people were beheaded.

Al Shabaab have been intensifying their attacks in Lamu and elsewhere in the run-up to the August 8 General Election.

It is feared that frightened voters will not cast ballots.

In the latest attack on Thursday, Public Works PS Mariam El Maawy was kidnapped, wounded and suffered burns.

She was recovering on Friday in Nairobi after her rescue by KDF soldiers in a fierce firefight with 30 militants.

Her nephew, trainee pilot Arif Kassim, 21, is among the dead, according to an administrator who spoke on condition of anonymity.

His body was among three found on Friday at the Mpeketoni Subcounty Hospital in Lamu West.

That brought to six the death toll from the 3pm road attack at Milihoi.

The two other bodies are believed to be those of police officers, including the PS’s personal bodyguard.

Kassim had been reported missing shortly after the attack. He had accompanied Maawy on her road trip to Witu, where she was to meet families displaced by terrorism. He was to complete his pilot’s course this year.

“We are making burial arrangements at Ari’s home in Mokowe,” the administrator said.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports indicate two bodies are those of KDF officers killed on Thursday as they rescued Maawy.

Police and military bosses have refused to comment on the reports.

Lamu county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri and Linda Boni Operation director James Seriani declined to comment.

Reports indicate that PS Maawy was not the target but was travelling in the vehicle that was attacked.

The PS was shot in the legs, shoulders and in the hands and abandoned, when the terrorists discovered they were being pursued by the KDF. She also suffered burns.

Their Pajero was hijacked and torched.

When contacted earlier, Seriani dismissed reports anyone was missing. He also denied that six KDF soldiers who rushed to rescue the PS died in a fierce exchange of fire.

“Nobody is missing. No KDF officer was killed. Only two civilians were killed. No security officers were killed,” Seriani had texted.

The operation to pursue the al Shabaab militants has been intensified. The terrorists fled into Boni Forest, their hideout.

On July 7, al Shabaab militants beheaded nine people in Lamu.

On July 5, Shabaab gunmen raided Pandanguo in Lamu county.

On June 16, four people died and 11 were injured in Mandera county when their PSV ran over an explosive.

On June 10, two Kenyans were publicly executed by al Shabaab in Bula Fulay village in Somalia for allegedly spying for Kenya.

The terrorists have moved south from Somalia, basing themselves in the vast Boni Forest from where they launch attacks and retreat.

Operation Linda Boni was launched in September 15 and despite repeated statements about success, it has failed to remove militants.

Kenya is now carrying out airstrikes in the forest.


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