SECURING LAMU

Security agencies pursue Shabaab over torched Lapsset lorries

Residents have reported a heavy security presence in the area including constant air patrols

In Summary
  • The trucks are part of a fleet of vehicles belonging to the China Communications Construction Company who are currently building the Sh.17.9 B Lapsset corridor. 
  • Construction activities at the affected camp have also been suspended after the contractor and over 300 staff fled for their lives.
KDF soldiers jump during an operation in Lamu.
KDF soldiers jump during an operation in Lamu.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

Security agencies in Lamu have launched a massive crackdown for suspected al Shabaab militants who torched eight construction vehicles and equipment belonging to the Lamu port on Sunday.

The trucks are part of a fleet of vehicles belonging to the China Communications Construction Company who are currently building the Sh17.9 billion Lapsset corridor project access road.

The incident took place at Kwa Omollo bridge near Bodhei area inside the Boni forest in Lamu East.

The heavily armed gunmen attacked a parking lot at the mini-construction camp at around 4am Sunday and shot randomly in the air to scare away security units manning the camp, before they launched rocket propelled grenades that burned most of the equipment.

The site is manned by Kenya Defence Forces.

A gun battle lasting over two hours ensured at the site between the attackers and KDF, before they militants were finally repulsed and retreated back into the Boni forest.

There were no casualties during the incident.

Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia said security had been heightened in the area as officers pursued the insurgents.

“We have deployed enough officers for the crackdown in the Boni forest. We shall not relent until those disturbing the peace of this county are dealt with," Macharia said.

Construction activities at the affected camp have also been suspended after the contractor and over 300 staff fled for their lives.

Their absence will also pave way for the security operation launched in pursuit of the attackers.

“We have been asked not to go back on site until further notice to allow for the manhunt of the attackers by security agencies,” a worker who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

Residents have reported a heavy security presence in the area including constant air patrols by military and police helicopters.

The situation had largely affected movement as residents are required to register any movement in and out of their villages at the chief’s office.

“You can’t leave the village and go anywhere or visit a friend if the chief doesn’t give you permission and acknowledges to the security officers that he allowed you to,”Omar Gulo of Bodhai said.

Recent intelligence reports indicated that the militia group was planning attacks in Lamu targeting major infrastructure among them, the Lamu port and the roads leading to the facility.

The militia has been on an offensive launching attack in various parts of Lamu since January 2 that have left at least 15 people including four GSU officers dead.

 

 

 

-Edited by SKanyara

A KDF soldier on patrol in Lamu.
A KDF soldier on patrol in Lamu.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES
The cement lorry that was torched by Al shabaab militants at Milihoi area lin 2020.It belonged to the H-Young company.
The cement lorry that was torched by Al shabaab militants at Milihoi area lin 2020.It belonged to the H-Young company.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES