Al-Shabaab Attacks in Kenya’s Border Region Raise Security Concerns

On Friday, an al-Shabaab attack in Mandera County resulted in the death of a police officer, while two others were injured. The incident occurred near the Kenya-Somalia border when the terrorists fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a Land Cruiser pickup carrying elite officers from the Quick Response Unit (QRU) who were on a regular patrol. The attackers managed to escape, and no arrests have been made thus far. The injured officers were promptly taken to the hospital for treatment of their multiple injuries.

Meanwhile, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki held a Joint Security Briefing with North Eastern Regional Security and Intelligence officers in Garissa. The objective of the meeting was to devise strategies to counter al-Shabaab, particularly in light of plans to reopen the Kenya-Somalia border. Kindiki announced the resumption of operations at the Eastern Regional Immigration Offices in Garissa starting July 1, 2023, after an eight-year suspension.

In another incident, a reservist guarding non-local teachers in Mandera County was killed by gunmen suspected to be al-Shabaab terrorists. The victim, Mohamud Mohammed Abdulahi, was ambushed and shot in his house, raising concerns among non-locals in the area. There is a fear that the militants may be planning an attack targeting the non-local teachers, who play a crucial role in sustaining the education system in the region. Private school owners have hired vigilante groups and police reservists to provide security in response to previous attacks on non-local teachers by terrorists.

Additional security incidents in the area include an attack on six police officers who were injured by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Rhamu, Mandera County. Another team was targeted in the same area but managed to escape unharmed. Furthermore, a recent operation in Alango, Garissa County, led to the prevention of a planned terrorist attack. The operation resulted in the recovery of weapons and ammunition, including AK47 rifles, RPGs, grenades, and other items from an al-Shabaab camp.

The region has experienced a series of attacks from al-Shabaab, often with the support of local individuals. The porous Kenya-Somalia border facilitates the militants’ movement and enables them to carry out attacks before retreating back into Somalia. In response to these security challenges, increased personnel have been deployed to the area, and residents have been urged to cooperate with security agencies to curb the trend. The recent attack occurred amidst heightened security concerns, as there were fears of a potential attack following a period of relative calm.


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