Kenya’s security officers escaped unhurt on Tuesday in an ambush by Islamist militants who have increased attacks in northeast Kenya.
Northeastern regional coordinator Mohamud Saleh said the security have cordoned off the area in Elwak where police officers who were escorting a Mandera-bound commuter bus were attacked by suspected Al-Shabaab militants.
Saleh said a mopping up exercise is currently ongoing in the area with a view of nabbing the militants had attacked the police officers.
“We believe these militants are still hiding in the nearby bushes and have not crossed over to their country.
“A major operation involving our officers drawn from the military, regular and administration police reservists is currently ongoing,” said Saleh.
The latest incident in northeast Kenya has caused much panic among the residents of Mandera and its environs which has had not realized peace since Kenyan soldiers launch cross border incursion in 2011.
According to Saleh, during the incident, no police officer was injured. It is not however clear whether any of the militants escaped with injuries.
Saleh said that the militants were only interested with attacking the police officers since the commuter bus had passed the same area 20 minutes before and yet nothing happened to them.
Security in Mandera remains volatile with the militia who crossed over from their neighboring country responsible for the numerous attacks that have rocked the area.
Since the November 2014 incident where 28 people who were travailing from Mandera to Nairobi were killed by ‘al-Shabaab’ militants, the government stepped up its efforts to improve security among them having all buses coming to and from the area escorted by armed police officers.
‘al-Shabaab’ whose operations have sown terror across Somalia and Kenya in recent years later claimed responsibility the murder of 28 people mostly teachers, saying it was in response over the mistreatment of Muslims in the coastal city of Mombasa.
The police said more border patrol will be intensified along the Kenya-Somalia border to prevent the Al-Qaida-linked insurgents who are fleeing Somalia from entering into the country.