At least five police officers are nursing injuries after suspected Al-Shabaab militants ambushed them while they were on patrol in Mandera South.
The officers were in a contingent of regular police, the Border Patrol Unit (BPU), Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Thursday evening.
“It happened today (Thursday) at Bamba Ola stretch along the B9 road between Wargadud and Elwak that a joint patrol security team was sprayed with bullets by suspected Shabaab militants,” reads a report filed at the Elwak Police Station.
One officer suffered a gunshot injury in his forehead and was treated at Elwak Sub-County Hospital and discharged in a fair condition.
The other four officers suffered injuries when they jumped out of their vehicles to respond to the attackers.
One officer’s G3 rifle was damaged after being hit by a bullet from the assailants.
An Elwak Police Station vehicle was also damaged in the rain of bullets.
“The station vehicle registration number GKB 825, a Toyota Land Cruiser had its rear screen shattered, its exhaust pipe damaged, chassis shot at and it had a bullet hole on the rear roof rails,” the police report said.
Reinforcements from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and General Service Unit (GSU) were sent in from the Elwak camps.
An Anti-Stock Theft Unit lorry was also damaged in the attack.
The incident happed just a day after intelligence reports shared among security agencies showed the presence of armed terrorists in the area.
“Information received from pastoralists is that Al-Shabaab terrorists have been sighted between Wante and Alungu along Elwak-Lafey road, they are almost 25 to 30 in numbers and their intension is not known,” reads an intelligence update released on Wednesday.
A second report showed that the same group of suspected militants had moved closer to the B9 road between Alungu and Quraqura in Mandera South.
Earlier in the week, Mandera County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha had reported an increase in terror threats in the county.
“We now have increased external threats in areas along our border with Somalia but we are up to the task and all security arrangements are in place to ensure the coming elections are not interfered with,” Mr Kyatha said.
Local politicians have switched to air transport for their campaigns following an increase in roadside explosives.
This month alone, Mandera has recorded at least four terrorist incidents, including attacks on security camps and security patrols, as well as roadside explosives.
A week ago, public transport was temporally halted as bomb experts from the KDF cleared the Mandera-Rhamu road following reports that improvised explosive devices had been planted on the road.
An explosive was found and successfully detonated.