Two police officers were killed and seven others injured as Al-Shabaab militants raided Pandaguo. (Photo: Courtesy)
Lamu, Kenya: Two police officers were killed and seven others injured as Al-Shabaab militants raided Pandaguo area, Lamu County in an early morning attack.
Two of the gunmen were killed in a gun battle that lasted over seven hours with personnel from Kenya Defence Forces joining in.
This increases to more than a dozen, the number of police officers killed in the area in the past months alone in attacks staged by the terrorists.
The militants had attacked the local police post and set it a blaze as well as a primary school and a dispensary.
Locals and police said the gang of about 100 stole medicines from the local dispensary and loaded the same to a police vehicle they had stolen from the police post during the 5 am incident that however lasted more hours.
They also attacked a communication mast in the area and destroyed it. This affected communication in the area even as security agencies responded.
Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet said the gunmen had engaged security agencies that responded to the attack for hours. “The engagement is ongoing and we are waiting for more response from the ground but I can assure you they are facing a good team,” he said at 1 pm, seven hours after the incident had started.
He added Lamu has been facing a series of attacks from the militants in the past months and promised a clear path to ensure its safety.
Locals said the attackers struck at dawn with gunshots as they marched to the targeted institutions and installations.
They later commandeered a police vehicle as officers on duty took cover and engaged them in a shootout while waiting for reinforcement.
This affected activities in the area also affecting learning in nearby schools.
Witnesses said a number of villagers had escaped from their homes with a number of schools closing as the security agents engaged in gun battles with the militants.
The area is among that had received a facelift by the government under Operation Linda Boni as part of efforts to ensure locals receive services.
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Security agents including those from Kenya Defence Forces responded to the scene pushing them into the nearby Boni Forest in a shootout.
Their ground response was however slowed down by fears of mines that the terrorists could have planted on the roads leading to their escape routes.
Military choppers were deployed there to assist in locating the militants. They captured events on the ground helping those on foot.
The area has been new wave of attacks in the area in the past months claiming more than ten lives.
On June 27, four pupils and four policemen were killed in an IED attack launched by the militants in Kiunga on a police vehicle.
The lorry was carrying 19 Administration Police officers and 15 civilians most of whom were children who had hiked a lift from Mararani to Kiunga when the incident happened.
Security agents were two weeks ago warned of Al-Shabaab attacks within Kiunga area, Milihoi, after roughly 100 of them were spotted by locals.