At least 12 Kenyan police officers were on Saturday killed while another escaped with serious injuries after a vehicle they were traveling in was hit by improvised explosive device (IED) in Wajir county along the border with Somalia.
A senior Wajir police officer confirmed the mid-morning incident by suspected al-Shabab militants believed to have crossed over from neighboring Somalia. The incident took place between Riba and Konton villages in Wajir east.
“A team of 13 administration police officers were attacked with IED between Riba and Konton and only one survived with serious injuries subject to confirmation of the number of death toll,” said the police officer who declined to be identified.
The security officer said the administration police officers were allegedly conducting security surveillance along Kenya-Somalia border when the incident happened, two days after the militants stormed a local center and abducted three police reservists in the same location.
Witnesses said the police officers were killed when their vehicle ran over the landmine and those who survived were pursued and shot dead. A police chopper has been sent to pick the only survivor, he added.
Meanwhile, the al-Qaida allied terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack in northeastern Kenya, saying their fighters seized the Konton village in the outskirts of Wajir town.
In a statement posted on its affiliated media outlets, the militants said the heavily armed fighters also took hostage of several Kenyan police officers and confiscated two motorbikes as well as military equipment.