One killed in suspected Shabaab attack in Lamu

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One person died on Tuesday morning when a water bowser headed to Usalama Camp, where the Kenya-Somalia border wall is being constructed, ran over an improvised explosive device suspected to have been planted by Al-Shabaab militants.

The vehicle, which had two occupants –the driver and the conductor- was ferrying water to be used for the ongoing construction of the border securitization wall, when the incident occurred at around 7.30am.

Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia confirmed the incident, saying enough security officers have been deployed to search for the terrorists responsible for the morning attack.

Following the incident, an urgent security meeting, which was chaired by Mr Macharia was organised within Usalama Camp to strategise on how best the safety of the construction workers will be taken care of.

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The County Commissioner however said no construction activities were hampered as the terrorist attack happened very far from the camp.

He appealed to members of the public on the border villages of Kiunga, Ishakani, Madina and Boni forest to provide information to security agencies if they witness any suspicious individuals for prompt action.

“A water bowser with the driver and conductor, who are part of the team of construction workers undertaking the building of the Kenya-Somalia security border wall this morning ran over an IED. The vehicle was coming from the sides of Kiunga to supply water at Usalama Camp when the incident happened. The conductor died on the spot while the driver escaped unhurt. The ground is well policed. There is no cause for alarm,” said Mr Macharia.

Reports from security sources on the ground, however, indicated that suspected Al-Shabaab militants had ambushed a convoy of vehicles ferrying tens of border wall construction workers to Usalama camp and killed one of the workers on the spot.

“There were about five vehicles that were ferrying labourers from Kiunga to Usalama camp when their convoy was ambushed by Al-Shabaab. They shot the vehicles at random, killing one construction worker on the spot,” said a security source who refused to be named.

Ambushed

In January 2016, five Police officers were killed while three were injured when a Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) lorry they were travelling in ran over an IED suspected to have been planted by Al-Shabaab militants along the Hindi-Kiunga road in Lamu.

The officers were also heading to Usalama Camp when the incident happened just a few kilometres from Milimani which is inside the dense Boni forest.

The construction of the security border wall had in early 2020 been postponed for several weeks after the contractor ran out of building materials.

Labourers were, however, recalled back to Usalama camp in March the same year to proceed with the construction.

The 700-kilometre wall, dubbed the Kenya-Somalia Border Securitisation Project, was mooted in 2015 to secure the country from attacks by the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terrorists.

The entire project plan includes having designated immigration and custom entry points with a two feet tall concrete wall fitted with CCTV cameras.

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