Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – Four employees of Kenya’s National Highway Authority were killed on Wednesday in an attack by suspected Islamist militants near the country’s eastern border with Somalia.
According to police reports, the workers were leading a convoy from Garissa to Bura when their vehicles hit an explosive device believed to have been planted by members of the Somali extremist group al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab, linked to Al-Qaeda, has been responsible for several high-profile attacks in Kenya in recent years. In 2015, the group killed 166 people at Garissa University; in 2013, they killed 67 people at a mall in Nairobi. However, the frequency and severity of the group’s attacks in Kenya have decreased in recent years.
The al-Shabab’s cross-border raids are part of its campaign to pressure Kenya into withdrawing its troops from the African-Union-mandated peacekeeping force in Somalia.
In response, Kenya has increased security along its border with Somalia in anticipation of the arrival of fleeing al-Shabaab members. This follows an ongoing crackdown against terrorists in parts of Somalia.
Officials have said that more terrorists are on the run, and more personnel are deployed to stop “bad elements” from entering Kenya.
Security officials have stated that there are tens of other terrorists, primarily foreigners, who are on the run to escape the latest operation.
Kenya has also been playing a role in the fight against these extremist groups by sending troops to Somalia since 2011 as part of Operation Linda Nchi and Operation Sledge Hammer.
The troops were initially deployed in response to the kidnappings of two Spanish women working for MSF at the Dadaab refugee camp and have since been successful in taking control of critical areas like the port of Kismayo.