Two police officers killed, five injured in suspected al-Shabaab attack in Mandera

The main entrance to the Mandera County Referral Hospital.

Photo credit: File

At least two police officers have been killed and five others injured in a suspected al-Shabaab attack in Mandera County.

The incident occurred on the Elele-Takaba road in Mandera South sub-county at 10am on Friday.

Security sources said a contingent of security officers from the Elele-based Quick Response Unit (QRU) were attacked while on patrol.

The attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at the officers’ vehicle killing the two officers and injuring five others.

Confirming the incident, Mandera County Commissioner Amos Mariba said combined security forces were combing the area in search of the attackers.

"The incident happened around 10am and targeted our officers who were on a security patrol in the area. It is unfortunate that we lost two officers but our response teams are on the ground," Mr Mariba said by phone.

The Mandera County Security Committee boss said the affected team had been patrolling the area following intelligence reports of the militants being sighted.

"We are challenged by the topography of the area and the enemy has taken advantage of the improved vegetation to hide," he said.

According to Mr Mariba, sightings of al-Shabaab militants in Mandera have increased following the recent rains.

"We are getting reports of the enemy being sighted but our response teams are on the ground tracking them. We are on the verge of catching up with them," he said.

Both the dead and the injured have since been airlifted to Nairobi, Mr Mariba said.

Last week, a police reservist was shot dead by suspected al-Shabaab militants in Mandera's Guticha area.

The attackers reportedly accused the officer of working for the government and reporting their movements in the area.

In Garissa on Friday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki vowed to fight the terror group and announced a Sh20 billion budget for security agencies.

"The government has Sh20 billion to ensure that our security officers are properly equipped to fight the terrorists. The government is determined to end this war and focus on other internal matters," said Prof Kindiki.