Eight people including four police officers and four pupils died after a Rapid Border Patrol Unit (RBPU) vehicle they were travelling in ran over a landmine at Ota area on Mararani-Kiunga road in Lamu East on Tuesday.
The incident occurred at around 12pm in a suspected Al-Shabaab attack.
Five pupils were injured, two in critical condition while three are reported missing.
According to police sources, four police officers from the RBPU were heading to Kiunga but on reaching Mararani, they gave 14 pupils a lift to Kiunga Primary School.
“The vehicle ran over a landmine and was extensively damaged. There were also some shootings from the militia shortly after the vehicle was blown up.
“Four police officers and four students were killed on the spot with others injured,” said an officer who did not want to be named since he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Contacted, Lamu East Sub-County Administrator Mr Shee Kupi confirmed that four out of the 14 pupils that had boarded the police vehicle were killed; five were injured with two in critical condition while the whereabouts of three other pupils was unknown.
The county government of Lamu introduced an education programme dubbed ‘Saving the Basuba Education’ for terror-prone Basuba Ward pupils where they are required to travel to Kiunga Primary School to learn since their area in Basuba is unsafe.
“We were expecting about 30 pupils from Mararani who were supposed to go to Kiunga today for learning after the Iddi-Ul-Fitr celebrations.
“Only 14 pupils had started trekking to Kiunga while others were yet to be released by their parents.
“It’s unfortunate that the vehicle ran over the landmine and in the event, we lost four pupils while others were injured,” said Mr Kupi.
By the time of publishing this story, efforts to have the injured pupils airlifted from Manda to Nairobi for treatment were underway.
Efforts to reach the Lamu County Commissioner, Joseph Kanyiri and the Linda Boni Operation Director James Ole Seriani for comments were however futile since their phones went unanswered.
The incident comes just three weeks after seven administration police officers from the Mangai Rapid Border Patrol Unit (RBPU), two Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers and a civilian were killed after an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) they were travelling in ran over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) suspected to have been planted by Al-Shabaab militants.
The incident happened at Baure area in Lamu East on May 31.
The incident also comes at a time when the national government is undertaking the multiagency security operation dubbed ‘Linda Boni’ whose major aim is to flush out Al-Shabaab militants believed to be hiding in the dense Boni Forest in Lamu.
The operation was launched on September 15, 2015 by Interior Cabinet Secretary Major (Retired) general Joseph Nkaissery.