On Monday night, a tragic incident unfolded in Lamu County as at least 8 soldiers were killed in a Kenyan Air Force helicopter crash during a night patrol. According to Kenyan officials, at least eight soldiers lost their lives. This incident occurred in Boni Forest along the Kenya-Somalia border. Although the militant group al-Shabaab operates within the dense forest, the helicopter crash seems to be an accident.
Boni Forest, Lamu County, KENYA. By Jama:
The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) shared a statement providing details about the incident: “A Kenya Air Force Huey Helicopter crashed last night [18 September] while conducting a night patrol in Lamu County. The crew and other military personnel onboard belonged to an air surveillance squadron intensifying day and night patrols and surveillance for the ongoing Operation Amani Boni. The leaders and the entire KDF fraternity offer condolences to the families of the crew. A board of inquiry has been constituted and dispatched to the scene to establish the cause of the crash,” read the statement.
Authorities have yet to determine the cause of the crash, and the Department of Defense (DoD) has initiated an investigation to uncover the circumstances that led to the accident. The DoD also expressed condolences to the families of the crew members.
The terrorist al-Shabaab group used the accident in its propaganda but did not claim responsibility for the crash.
Solutions for troubled Boni
Less than a month ago, Kenya’s Defense Cabinet Secretary, Aden Duale, visited Lamu County to address security issues. Duale proposed constructing a 42-kilometre cutline and establishing six security roads around Boni Forest. Those found on the wrong side of the cutline would face the law. The initiative aims to protect villagers from potential threats al-Shabaab fighters pose in the Boni Forest and enhance security in the coastal county.
The Boni Forest, near Kenya’s border with Somalia, has become a notorious hotbed of al-Shabaab activity. The dense forest’s secluded terrain provides an ideal hideout for the extremist group, allowing them to carry out their operations with relative impunity. Over the years, the region has witnessed multiple attacks on nearby villages and towns by al-Shabaab, resulting in significant security concerns for Kenyan authorities and local communities.