AP killed, 9 soldiers injured in landmine explosions

An administration police officer was killed and 9 security agents wounded in two separate explosions near the Somalia border on Sunday.

Police said nine of the wounded in the attacks in Wajir and Mandera were Kenya Defence Force soldiers.

The blasts were caused by roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs) believed to have been planted by Al-Shabaab rebels.

In at least one of the cases, police believe a mobile phone was used to detonate the device.

Northeastern police boss Leo Nyongesa said the officer who died was in a group of APs and regular policemen on patrol along the border in Mandera.

Two regular police officers were injured in the incident which occurred on Sunday afternoon.

The soldiers were wounded in a separate attack in Wajir when their truck ran over an explosive on the road.

“Improvised explosive devices were used in both incidents and were targeted at security officers. We have launched an operation to pursue the perpetrators,” said Mr Nyongesa.

Police suspect that Al-Shabaab, which is under pressure from the Kenya Defence Forces, is responsible for the attacks.

Kenyan forces crossed into Somalia on October 16 after a series of raids in Northeastern and Coast regions by the rebels.

On Sunday, it was also reported that African Union forces, in Somalia to protect the TFG, conducted air raids against the terror group’s strongholds in the Gedo region.

In Wajir, reports said that the army truck that was blown up was in a convoy headed to Mandera. District Commissioner Kennedy Nyaiyo said the soldiers were taken to Wajir district hospital where they are being treated.

A security operation has been launched in the area with soldiers surrounding a settlement where the incident occurred to capture suspects, he said.

Military spokesman, Major Emmanuel Chirchir, confirmed the explosions but said only two soldiers had suffered minor injuries.

In Somalia, reports from Bardere town, about 400km southwest of Mogadishu, said a fighter jet struck positions on the outskirts of the Al-Shabaab stronghold.

Sources said one missile hit a feeding centre for malnourished children run by Somalia Red Crescent Society and another one struck an abandoned education centre.

Sheikh Abbas Abdullahi Abdurahman, the Al-Shabaab Wali (governor) of Gedo region, said his fighters fired anti-aircraft guns at the plane.

“Our fighters forced the plane to go back,” he added, hinting that the militants had prior information that the plane was coming.

On Friday, a similar air raid by two airplanes took place around the same town.

So far, there are no clear indications of the casualties, but the targets of the aircraft were said to be positions held by Al-Shabaab.

In Nairobi, the Department of Defence said it had sought an enhanced mandate for Kenyan troops set to join the United Nations-sponsored African Union forces engaged in Somalia.

“The rules of engagement are different. Peace enforcement allows the forces to go on aggressive patrols and hit when they are hit,” said Col Cyrus Oguna at the weekly briefing at the Ministry of Information and Communications on Saturday.

Reported by Issa Hussein, Fred Mukinda and Abdulkadir Khalif

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