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A Kenya police officer was killed and four others sustained heavy injuries after a remote controlled improvised explosive device (IED) hit their patrol today in the Kenyan town of Madera, 2 kilometers from the Somali border.
The officers from the Administration Police Unit were on foot patrol at 10:30am when an explosive device was hurled at them by suspected members of Somalia's Islamist terror group, al-Shabaab.
According to Mohamed Hassan Jamaa, an eyewitness at a nearby primary school, the officers were just beginning to take a break under a tree on the Kenya side of the border when the explosion occurred.
“Immediately after the first officer sat under the tree there was a big explosion. Then I saw one of the officers thrown into the air as others cried loud for help,” Mohamed told Somalia Report.
Halima Hussein, a milk vendor from the war-torn border town of Bulla Hawa, said she saw masked men fleeing the scene of the explosion shortly after the blast.
James Ole Serian, Kenya's North-Eastern regional administrator, confirmed to Somalia Report than an IED killed one of their officers and said the 4 injured officers were recuperating at Mandera district hospital.
"The attack targeting Kenya's security personnel fits into the cowardice work of disgruntled Islamist group who are bent on causing fear among the Kenyan people," said Mr. Serian.
He further explained that incident will be investigated and those found responsible will be dealt with firmly, but declined to give details.
As a result of the blast, the Kenyan government briefly sealed off its border with Somalia and turned away Somalia residents who travel to Mandera town for business, health services and school on a daily basis.
This is not the first time Kenyan security personnel have been targeted by al-Shabaab militants. In March of this year, Kenya's police were ambused at the border and in June four Kenya military officers were killed after their vehicle was hit by an IED. Yesterday a police reservist was killed in Harir-Hosley by armed Somali militiamen suspected to be members of al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab has regularly accused Kenya of siding militarily with the weak transitional government of Somalia and has vowed to rid the soldiers and police from border towns.