Two police officers were yesterday killed after their vehicle ran over explosives in Liboi, Garissa County.
The death brings to 11 the number of police officers killed in Garissa and Mandera counties in two days.
Four other officers were injured after an improvised explosive device (IED) destroyed their vehicle along the Malelei-Kulan road in Liboi, the same area where five officers escorting Mandera Governor Ali Roba were killed in a similar attack on Wednesday.
Yesterday, police made a major breakthrough after they arrested a suspected terrorist and recovered an AK-47, 40 bullets and bomb-making materials. The suspect, according to North Eastern Regional Coordinator Mohammed Saleh, was arrested during a major opertion in Liboi.
Two of the injured officers were airlifted to Nairobi for specialised treatment after the 7am blast.
Police at the scene said the two had life threatening injuries. The Administration Police officers were riding in a vehicle belonging to the Immigration Department.
Kenya Red Cross officials said five people were feared dead in the blast that destroyed the officers’ vehicle.
“A vehicle is reported to have run over an IED between Malelei and Kulan, Garissa County, and five people were feared dead and one injured,” the Kenya Red Cross said in a tweet.
The North Eastern regional coordinator, Mohamud Saleh, said two of the injured officers were airlifted to Nairobi.
“A vehicle ran over a landmine and we have airlifted some of the casualties to Nairobi. We are monitoring the situation,” said Mr Saleh.
Witnesses said the latest victims were travelling in a new vehicle when it was hit by an IED that seemed to have been planted on Wednesday night.
The incident came two days after Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said the Al Shabaab militants are under pressure inside Somalia from Amisom troops and are escaping to Kenya with the intention to staging attacks.
“These groups are dispatching operatives into parts of the northeastern region to lay IEDs along the routes used by our security patrols in efforts to frustrate our operations in the border areas,” said Mr Boinnet.
He added that the country was at real risk of local operatives attempting to stage copycat attacks in Kenya following an attack in Manchester, UK.
Boinnet urged the public to help contain any planned attack. He appealed for vigilance in public service vehicles, churches, hotels, and airports.
Terrorists have in the past two weeks blasted vehicles in parts of northeastern Kenya, claiming the lives of at 20 people. Questions have been asked how it was possible for the terrorists to set up explosives without being noticed by locals.
Among those killed was a land surveyor working for a road construction company. He died last week when a vehicle he was travelling in ran over an IED in Elwak, Mandera County.
On May 16, four people were killed after a vehicle they were travelling in ran over an IED in Liboi, Garissa County.