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3 Al-Shabaab suspects killed in Kenya's coastal region
Thursday, August 16, 2012
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Kenya's security forces have killed three suspected Al-Shabaab militia from Somalia in the coastal region of Lamu as the East African nation enhances security along its borders with the Horn of Africa nation.
Coast Provincial Commissioner Samuel Kilele said they were killed on Tuesday night by a joint security operation conducted by Kenya Defense Force (KDF) and the police at Boni forest in the archipelago.
The regional administrator said three AK-47 rifles and 60 rounds of ammunition were recovered from the suspects in the raid.
"Our officers received a tipoff from members of public about the suspects and they responded immediately and gunned them down and made recovered the weapons," said Kilele.
According to police, the three were in a group of seven heavily armed militants who had crossed into the country through the Kenya- Somalia border.
He said four of their accomplices escaped with bullet wounds and that police have combed the forest to track them down.
Kenyan authorities have enhanced security in major cities and all entry points and called on residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious individuals in their midst to security personnel.
There has been a string of attacks by Al-Shabaab militants and their sympathizers since Kenya sent troops into Somalia in October 2011 to subdue the insurgents who were blamed for a series of murders and kidnappings on the Kenya soil with Daadab district which hosts the refugee camps being one of the worst hit by the attacks.
The militant group has recently come under pressure from African Union peacekeepers, who pushed them out of the Somali capital Mogadishu while preparing to launch a major onslaught on the strategic port city of Kismayo.
According to police, the seven Al-Shabaab suspects were planning to carry out major attacks in the country and their killing is a major breakthrough in the ongoing war against terror.
Police say they suspect the four who were also armed might have managed to escape into Somalia through the vast Kenya-Somalia border.
Kilele said a combined team comprising the Kenya Army, General Service Unit, Regular and Administration Police has been set up along the Kenya-Somalia border in Lamu to deal with the Al-Shabaab threats.
"We are appealing to locals with any information to share the same with the security apparatus," Kilele said.
The killing came a few days after police arrested three Tanzania nationals on suspicion that they were members of the militant group in the same forest last week.
Kenya's anti-terrorism police identified the three as Jamani Ali Muswadiku, 30, Mbaruki Sharif Muswadiku, 26, and Harun Waziri Tinawa, 17, who were arrested as they attempted to sneak into Somalia through the porous border.
They were transferred to the Tanzanian consulate in Mombasa city awaiting deportation.
Divisional police commander Samuel Obara confirmed that they are making arrangements to have the Tanzanians deported to their country after they were arrested.
He said security had been beefed up along the border in anticipation of a major onslaught of AMISOM troops in the port of Kismayu, a hub of Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
He added that police officers have been dispatched to patrol the border road between Kiunga and Milimani with military officers stationed at the Dare Slam point at the border.
"The police troops comprise the GSU, regular police and Administration Police all of whom are manning the border zone through a series of patrols," said Obara.
Al-Shabaab has been blamed for the recent spate of grenade attacks in the country and has recruited foreign fighters in its ranks.
In May, two foreigners were arrested about 20 km from the Kenya- Somalia borders. The two, a German and a Belgian, were arrested at Basuba in Kiunga.
Lamu County is a popular route with foreigners attempting to cross into the lawless Somali territory to join Al-Shabaab.
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