Nairobi — More than 30 people, majority of them security officials have been killed in separate al Shabaab attacks near the Kenya-Somalia border in the past weeks at an alarming rate.
This is even as the security chiefs keep saying they are on top of the game against al Shabaab terror group.
The latest happened on June 24, 2023, at night in two villages in Lamu County where five men were killed in a macabre attack. Four of the victims had their throats slit and one was shot at close range.
The attackers, about 30, also torched houses in the village and stole foodstuff, police and survivors said.
Security chiefs have been holding meetings to plan counterattacks on the gang amid intelligence reports the attackers have crossed the border in large numbers with plans to strike more places.
There have been excuses from various parties on the increase including the announcement to open the Kenya-Somalia border, poor morale among security officials and ongoing operations against the terror group in Somalia among others.
Months before May 2023, the security teams had pushed the gang and managed to keep them away from the main border amid fears they would be back.
President William Ruto said they have the will and power to defeat the terror group, which has been striking the area for almost ten years now.
Ruto has indicated Kenya Defence Forces troops in Somalia may stay there longer beyond the drawdown timetable due to increased terror activities.
“We are very clear and we are going to send a very powerful message to al Shabaab that they are not going to reverse the gains that we have made in the last couple of years,” he said.
He said the al Shabaab terror group is trying to reposition itself after the start of the withdrawal of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops to create the impression that they will take over the region.
“The challenge of al Shabaab we have to confront it. We intend and have every chance to defeat al Shabaab,” said Ruto.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki assured Kenyans at large that their safety is guaranteed.
Kindiki also said the government will do all it takes to fight and end the terror menace in the country.
“We have already set aside Sh20 billion to purchase advanced security equipment, including armoured personnel carrier vehicles, drones and other gadgets so that our security agencies get proper safety as they effectively fight the terrorists,” he said.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale says they have put several measures to tame the terror activities in the region.
He warned locals against working with the terror group in enhancing their attacks.
“We have agreed with our partners and allies who have troops in Somalia that together we will finish al Shabaab,” he said.
Inspector General of police Japhet Koome visited parts of Garissa on Sunday, June 25 and met security officials involved in operations as part of morale boosting.
The border region has borne the brunt of repeated attacks from the militants who are at times aided by locals. The terrorists have been planting explosives on the routes used by the security agencies.
They also targeted development projects like roads.
The incidents so far in the past month:
On June 3, three police officers were killed in Takaba, Mandera County.
On the same day, a member of the National Police Reserve was killed in an attack on a communication mast at a village town in Wajir near the Kenya-Somalia border.
On June 4 gunmen believed to be al-Shabaab terrorists shot and wounded a motorist, his passenger and a motorcyclist in Olla area, Rhamu, Mandera County.
On June 13, 2023, at least 14 security officials including ten KDF soldiers were killed in two separate attacks in Lamu and Garissa.
The attackers used Improvised Explosive Devices to strike security agencies as they moved on roads also leaving dozens injured.
On the same day, the group targeted a passenger bus in Afaad in Mandera by shooting at it to force the driver to stop in vain, police said.
The driver sped off with a deflated tyre saving almost 50 passengers who were on board. A day later, another PSV was stopped but the gang did not harm any of the 55 passengers on board.
On June 18, two KDF troops were killed in an attack by an IED in Mlima Faru, Lamu County. On June 20, three police officers were killed after their vehicle ran over an IED in Mandera.
On June 21, a public service vehicle was hit by an IED killing three passengers in Mandera.