Five soldiers yesterday died on the spot after a vehicle they were travelling in ran over an explosive on the Kiunga-Sankuri road, Lamu East.
Ten others suffered serious injuries. They are undergoing treatment. Kenya Defence Forces public affairs officer Paul Njuguna said the soldiers were on a humanitarian civil assignment to fetch and distribute water to residents.
They suspected the IED was planted by al Shabaab militants. The terrorist group has been on a mission to wreak havoc in the northeastern region.
“The soldiers were on their routine assignment of fetching and distributing water to nearby villages when they rain over the IED. Unfortunately, we lost five. Ten are injured,” Njuguna said.
He praised residents for their assistance immediately after the 8am accident. He urged them to cooperate with the KDF so it can weed out the militants from the region.
KDF and other security agencies are conducting the Linda Boni security operation in Lamu to flush out al Shabaab members from the Boni Forest and environs. The crackdown was launched in 2015.
Njuguna said residents’ support is crucial for achieving peace and stability.
The IED attack came barely three weeks after six KDF officers died in a similar manner on Kwa Omollo Bridge, Lamu East.
Questions linger on what exactly the Linda Boni operation has achieved. The militants seem to be getting bolder by the day as officers die in their numbers.
This has fed speculation the terror group is giving the soldiers a rough time, having outwitted them on many occasions. In some instances, they waylay and ambush security convoys.
Operation bosses maintain it is successful. They say they have made great strides in the war on terror. But local leaders and residents are not convinced. They say the growing number of attacks on residents and security officers cannot be termed success.
On February 25, soldiers on a routine patrol foiled IED attack on their convoy on Hulugho-Galmagalla road near the Kenya-Somalia border. They detonated the device in a controlled explosion.
On July 5, 10 police officers were injured after their vehicles ran over an explosive suspected to have been planted by Shabaab militants between Handaro and Sangailu.
The area is close to the Lamu-Garissa border to the eastern part of Kenya.
Police sources confirmed that the vehicle had more than 10 officers on board. They were from the Ijara Administration Police station.
They were escorting a bulldozer from their camp to the Sangailu AP camp in Holugho division at around 3am.