Five Kenyan police officers have been killed in a fresh attack by the al-Shabab Takfiri militant group near the border with Somalia.
Mohamud Ali Saleh, a military official coordinating an operation against the Somalia-based militants in northeast Kenya, said Thursday that the officers were targeted while they were traveling in a town on the border with Somalia as part of a larger deployment in the restive region.
“The five police officers killed in the attack were headed to boost the ongoing operation in Liboi,” said Saleh.
Other sources said the vehicle of the officers was targeted by an improvised explosive device (IED).
The Kenya Red Cross said the blast flipped over the green police pickup and tore its rear end off, adding that the incident occurred between Malelei and Kulan in Garissa county.
The attack comes just a day after eight police officers lost their lives in two similar blasts. Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the three attacks.
The Somali-based group has carried out numerous attacks in Kenya over the past years, allegedly in retaliation against Kenya’s involvement in a regional push to purge Somalia from militants.
The Kenyan police issued a statement on Tuesday, saying militants had increased their activities along the border with Somalia and that they specifically use IEDs to target security forces. Police chief George Kinoti said that al-Shabab had decided to split into various groups as a result of increased pressure in Somalia, adding that some of those small groups “are heading towards our border with the intention of staging attacks.”
He said the militants used a tactic to lay IEDs along the “routes used by our security patrols.”