At least three police officers from the Anti-Stock Theft Unit are nursing injuries after suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked their camp in Mandera South.
Mandera County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha said the attack happened on Monday afternoon.
“There was an attack aiming at a security camp in the Mandera South area whereby suspected Al-Shabaab militants hurled missiles into our installation but our officers responded and repulsed the enemy,” Mr Kyatha said.
Mr Kyatha said the quick response by the officers indicated security agencies’ level of alertness.
“We are fully aware of the threats posed by the militants in the county and we are also fully prepared to deal with any unexpected event because we want to have a secure and peaceful county,” he said.
He acknowledged the serious nature of the threat but added that more deployments and increased security patrols had been considered.
“External threats are real in Mandera at the moment but we are well prepared to deal with them. We are engaging the local community to help get intelligence information to carry out timely responses to these threats,” he said.
The Monday attack came barely a week after another on the same camp left three officers with injuries.
A security report from the camp said the attack happened at 3pm.
“Today at around 3pm Al-Shabaab militants attacked Astu ElRam camp using six HE bombs, PKM rifles. During the attack three officers got injured by flying pellets from the bombs,” the report said.
“HE bombs” refer to high-explosive devices. These are general-purpose munitions used to destroy targets.
An HE bomb has a thick-walled casing and less than a half its weight in explosive filler. It can inflict damage through explosive blast, penetration after falling from a greater height and fragmentation from the casing.
The militants used at least six high-explosive bombs at the camp, leaving one officer with a deep cut in the chest.
All the three officers were injured by flying pellets from the bombs, according to the report.
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) jet fighters from Wajir were called in and bombarded the area for the better part of Monday evening.
“We have had several attempts by the militants on this same camp and this is because of its proximity to Somalia. The enemy has been striking and quickly returning to Somalia to hide,” Mr Kyatha said.
The camp is located less than 10km from the Kenya-Somalia border.
A well-placed security officer told Nation.Africa that the camp has always been a target because it is along the main corridor used by militants to enter Mandera and neighbouring Wajir.
“This camp was strategically placed here to deal with the movements of the militants and this is why it was under attack as the enemy seeks to reclaim their route,” our source said.
Mr Kyatha, the Mandera county commissioner, said the county is secure and the elections on Tuesday, August 9, will be peaceful.