Nairobi: Kenyan police on Tuesday denied reports that Somalia’s Al Shabaab militant group on Monday night killed dozens of police officers during an ambush in a village in northeastern Garissa county.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett said only five police officers were injured, two critically, Xinhua news agency reported.
Boinett’s remarks came as Al Shabaab claimed they had killed 30 police officers in separate attacks on Monday in Yumbis village.
An Al Shabaab spokesman told pro-Al Shabaab radio Andulus that they killed at least 30 officers at the village near the border with Somalia, according to an earlier Xinhua report.
Boinett also confirmed that five vehicles were burnt down when the Al Shabaab militants ambushed the police officers who were on patrol duty within Fafi and Yumbis areas on Monday evening.
“Arising from the attack, a contingent of officers responded for reinforcement and on arrival at the scene, engaged the attackers in a heavy fire-fight. In the ensuing tactical mission, two officers were critically injured, three sustained minor injuries and five vehicles were burnt down,” Boinett said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
The police chief said a combined security operation involving the police and military is managing the situation in the region which borders Somalia.
“An operation to subdue the attackers is on course and as we establish more information, we shall inform the public accordingly,” Boinett added.
He urged the public to desist from posting any information on social media without verification to avoid creating unnecessary panic and apprehension among the people.
Garissa county acting police commander Shadrack Maithya said after a search in the area, they found all officers who were missing after the Monday evening incident.
“We have accounted for all the officers. Two were critically injured and they are being taken to Nairobi for treatment,” said Maithya.
The county police chief also confirmed that at least two members of the terror group were killed and a gun found on them.
The same area was in the spotlight last week after Kenyan security forces said they thwarted a planned attack by Al Shabaab gunmen on a village in Fafi on the Kenya-Somalia border.
Security agencies have intensified border patrols to deter infiltration by the militants into the country at a time of increased threats by the terrorists’ network and homegrown terror cells.
The government has already started construction of a wall between Kenya and Somalia in Kiunga, Lamu countym to address the porous borders believed to be easy routes for terrorists to sneak into the country.