Five people have been killed in a Kenyan border village, fuelling concerns that such attacks are increasing after a decline. The weekend attack raises the death toll over the last month to more than 30 people — including soldiers, police reservists and civilians.
In Saturday’s attack in the coastal Lamu county, four of the victims had their throats slit and one was shot at close range, according to local police.
The officials said about 30 attackers also torched houses in the village and stole food. The village borders Witu Forest, where al-Shabab militants have created hideouts and held abductees. Lamu County has been attacked two other times in the last two weeks, with both incidents targeting Kenya Defence Forces running a security operation in the area and leaving four of them dead.
In Kenya’s north, Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties have seen several attacks this month in which more than 10 people – including soldiers, police reservists and civilians – have died. Al-Shabaab has in the past targeted Kenya, but a coordinated operation at the border and inside neighbouring Somalia had led to fewer attacks until recently.
Kenyan President William Ruto on Friday suggested that the country’s troops might stay in Somalia into next month, past the date of withdrawal.
“We are very clear and we are going to send a very powerful message to al-Shabab, that they are not going to reverse the gains that we have made in the last couple of years,” he said during a France 24 interview in Paris.
Kenya is among countries in the region that have contributed troops to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
Kenyan Interior Minister Kindiki Kithure has assured residents of their safety, citing a budgetary allocation in the upcoming new financial year to purchase advanced security equipment.
Defence Minister Aden Duale last week warned locals in Garissa County against aiding and working with militants. More security personnel have been deployed to the border areas to enhance security.
- An AP report