Eight Kenyan police officers killed in suspected Al Shabaab blast

Thursday June 15 2023

Ijara Police Station in Garissa County, Kenya which was burnt by suspected Al Shabaab attackers on December 30, 2017. PHOTO | ABDIMALIK HAJIR | NMG


Eight Kenyan police officers were killed when their vehicle was blown up by an improvised explosive device in a suspected attack by Somalia-based jihadist group Al Shabaab, police said.

The incident took place on Tuesday in Garissa County in Eastern Kenya, a region on the border with Somalia, where Al Shabaab has been waging a bloody insurgency against the fragile government in Mogadishu for more than 15 years.

"We lost eight police officers in this attack," Northeastern Regional Commissioner John Otieno said.

"We suspect the work of Al Shabaab who are now targeting security forces and passenger vehicles," he added.

Read: Shabaab attack: Rebirth or fight for survival?

Kenya first sent troops into Somalia in 2011 to combat the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamist militants and is now a major contributor of troops to an African Union military operation against the group.


But it has suffered a string of retaliatory assaults, including a bloody siege at the Westgate mall in Nairobi in 2013 that cost 67 lives and an attack on Garissa University in 2015 that killed 148 people.

Read: 9 years later: Lessons from the Westgate terror attack

In Somalia itself, Al Shabaab has continued to wage deadly attacks despite a major offensive launched last August by pro-government forces, backed by the AU force known as the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis).

In one of the worst recent attacks, 54 Ugandan peacekeepers were killed when Al Shabaab fighters stormed an African Union base in Somalia on May 26, according to Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni.

And on Saturday, Somali police said six civilians were killed in a six-hour siege by the militants at a beachside hotel in Mogadishu.