Lango la Simba, Lamu County, Kenya –
About 60 al-Shabaab militants ambushed unsuspecting civilians of Kenya’s Lamu County on Monday morning. The attack happened around 7.40 am in Lango la Simba area along the Lamu-Witu-Garsen highway. Two people were killed.
The militants hid in bushes alongside the road and frantically fired at passing vehicles. A government prison car en route to Mombasa from Lamu was the first to be shot at. Luckily, it sped away. Subsequently, the militants fired at a vehicle carrying a Hindi Member of County Assembly (MCA), Mr James Njaaga, and his family. The MCA got hurt in his leg. Tragically, his wife sustained a severe injury on the head and died on the way to the hospital.
Among the attacked vehicles were also the Fisheries Department car and a Nissan, which had been rescued by the responding security forces. The responders, Nyorongo Special Forces and other security agencies were on time as they were conducting clearance patrols nearby on the highway. In the confrontation, the extremists fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the responders before fleeing for cover in their infamous hideout, the Boni forest.
President Ruto had to change plans due to the al-Shabaab threat
The incident comes only days after Kenyan President William Ruto encountered a similar security threat while touring the region. The Somali Digest reported on the incident here. President Ruto was on his way to commission rice irrigation in Gamba village when his security team decided to pursue a different landing site, switching from Gamba to a nearby Marembo Primary School. The initial destination was deemed unsafe due to al-Shabaab-related security concerns.
Boni Forest: The militants’ safe haven
The Boni Forest, situated 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, as it happened yesterday along the Lamu-Witu-Garsen highway. 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.
Within the past few years, the militants’ activity has been high in the region. Kenya’s security officials lost lives, and some were left badly injured in confrontations with al-Shabaab within the dense forest. In August 2018, five Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers were killed and six others badly injured after their lorry ran over an improvised explosive device (IED) during a patrol in the forest. Equally, members of the extremist groups have been hunted down on several occasions in the forest, indicating al-Shabaab’s durable presence in the region.