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Five burnt alive in Bargoni terror attack

A police officer inspects an escort vehicle that was damaged by Improvised Explosive Device (IED) targeting Mandera Governor Ali Roba's convoy early this year. The governor escaped unhurt but one of his security men was injured. (Photo:File/Standard)

Five passengers were burnt to ashes in a huge explosion detonated by militants near Bargoni township Monday morning, sparking panic in the now chronically insecure county.

The terrorists struck with improvised explosive devices (IED), petrol bombs and small arms fire, according to witness accounts and survivors of the massacre.

Initial reports had indicated that several police officers and civilians were killed but this was later refuted by Lamu Administration Police Commander Chrispus Mutali.

Speaking to The Standard, Mr Mutali said only five civilians, three women and two children, were killed by suspected Al Shabaab militants.

"They were burnt when the militants lobbed petrol bombs into the vehicle as others engaged officers in a fierce fire exchange," he said.

The AP boss said six policemen, who were also in the same vehicle, jumped out but the civilians remained inside.

Reports indicate that after immobilising the vehicle with the IED, dozens of militants sprung from the bushes and opened fire on the truck, some 10km south of Bargoni.

Mutali said the civilians had hiked a lift from the officers who were travelling from Bodhay township in Ijara sub-county of Garissa County and "were going for shopping in Hindi when they got caught up in the violence".

Raging flames

Reports reaching the media also indicated that several police men were injured, but this was refuted by Mutali who said only one officer sustained light injuries on the right leg.

He, however, said the attackers "were very many" and they attacked the officers who had jumped out of the burning vehicle with intense ferocity.

He said as the fire raged, some of the militants lobbed more petrol bombs into the vehicle which further stoked the already raging flames.

It is thought that the Al Shabaab militants are hiding in the expensive Boni forest, which they are also using as a launching pad to commit such atrocities.

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