In a dawn attack on Ijaara police station in Garissa County, the Somalia-based Al Shabaab fighters overran the station and made away with ammunition, food stocks and a police Land Cruiser. Not for the first time, the militiamen destroyed a communications mast, perhaps to disable communication between security agencies that could lead to their apprehension.
The growing frequency of attacks, especially in the Coast region and which target police stations and police officers on patrol is worrying. In all the incidents, security personnel are not only outnumbered, but are caught unawares, resulting in fatalities.
Several police vehicles have been destroyed after running over improvised explosive devices. In the latest Ijaara incident, however, there were no casualties- which is a good thing- and prompt action by the Kenya Defence forces resulted in five of the militia being killed. While the police Land Cruiser was destroyed after bomb material in it exploded, several guns and rounds of ammunition were recovered.
KDF deserves commendation for the quick action as it endeavours to keep our borders safe. Questions however linger regarding the level of preparedness and how well equipped the police are in dealing with the militia.
The Government spent vast amounts purchasing gear that could guarantee border safety, like armoured personnel carriers, yet our police officers are often caught unawares atop open-back Land Cruisers. When the police themselves feel exposed, it is not good for their morale. More needs to be done to secure our border with Somalia.