Kenyan soldiers killed 11 Al-Shabaab terrorists who had attacked a military camp in Lamu early Sunday morning.
The military spokesman, Col David Obonyo, said Al-Shabaab fighters attacked the KDF camp in Baure at around 5.45am, prompting a fierce gunfight between the soldiers and more than 100 attackers.
Two soldiers died in the attack, which coincided with the first anniversary of the Mpeketoni attack in which 70 people were killed.
However, the attack, together with two separate terrorist incursions, show that Al-Shabaab terrorists may be freely roaming large swathes of the countryside of Lamu and Garissa.
“Two of the terrorists that were killed were of Caucasian origin. Several others fled with injuries towards Boni forest,” said Col Obonyo.
More soldiers were called in to track down the terrorists. Various weapons, including 13 AK-47 rifles, five rocket-propelled grenades and eight other grenades were found on the dead attackers.
Earlier in the night, at least 60 suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists raided Mangai Village, also in Lamu County, flushed out villagers from their homes and ordered them to gather at the Mangai Mosque, where the raiders preached for three hours.
According to a local administrator, the attackers invaded the village at 3am and held prayers in the mosque before raiding the Mangai dispensary, where they set on fire two motorbikes belonging to the health centre.
The administrator, who sought anonymity, said the gang later invaded the newly built Mangai Boarding Primary School, where they burnt more than 100 mattresses. Nobody was injured in the dawn raid.
The administrator appealed to the government to send more security personnel.
“At the moment, all villagers are living in fear following the dawn raid by the suspected Al-Shabaab,” he said. “We don’t know what will happen next.”
Efforts to reach acting Lamu County Commissioner Fredrick Ndambuki were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
And in Fafi, Garissa County, gunmen on Saturday night made their way into Bula-Golol Village and demanded to be taken to the mosque.
Northeastern Regional Commissioner Mohamud Swaleh said the 10 gunmen arrived in the village at around 8pm.
Locals said the raiders confronted a former area councillor and ordered him to take them to a construction site, where workers from outside the county were living.
“We believe the assailants were asking for the direction of the mosque because there were seven non-local construction workers who were staying at the place and their aim was to possibly harm them,” he said.
The workers escaped and disappeared in the nearby bushes after the attackers started shooting indiscriminately from a distance.
Mr Swaleh said the seven were later rescued by a team of security officers who responded to the attack in the remote village that is about 40 kilometres from Kenya’s border with Somalia.
The regional commissioner said the same attackers had early on Saturday targeted a Kenya Defence Force vehicle that was heading to Garissa from a border base in Hulugho.
They had used an improvised explosive but were outgunned in a fierce gunfight with the soldiers.
Mr Swaleh said adequate security officers were in the affected villages and were pursuing the assailants, who fled towards the border.
The four attacks came just moments after Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet said security forces were on high alert following intelligence reports that Al-Shabaab was planning attacks during the month of Ramadhan.
Mr Boinnet said the terror group was planning to attack security personnel, government installations, churches and learning institutions.
“Security agencies have increased alertness and readiness across the country and are carrying out security operations to ensure that their plans do not succeed,” Mr Boinnet said at the weekend.
The incidents came just a few weeks after gunmen attacked Yumbis Village in Fafi Sub-County, where they ambushed police on patrol, killing one and injuring five.
Security forces have appealed to the public to report any suspicious characters to the police.
“We appeal to the locals in the area to report to the security agencies anybody seeking medical assistance or any suspicious-looking individuals who might attempt to hide in the area,” Col Obonyo said.