Kenyan security forces have killed 15 al-Shabab militants following a successful operation in the Bodhei area within the vast Boni forest in the coastal county of Lamu.
The Kenya Defense Force (KDF) commander involved in the operation said on Tuesday that an unknown number of militants were also injured in the raid after their camps were bombed on Monday evening.
The KDF official who declined to be named revealed that the ground troops were supported by attack helicopters and artillery fire to raid the militants’ bases which were located just about 40 kms from a local shopping centre, Xinhua news agency reported.
He said some of the slain militants are suspected to be part of the gang behind the recent attacks in the Lamu region that left over 15 people dead.
“We believe the militants were part of those who attacked villagers here recently. Our officers have successfully conducted a raid and destroyed two al-Shabab command and logistics bases in Bodhei,” the KDF commander said.
The militant group is believed to have fighters operating in the area’s Boni forest that has a poor communication network and terrain slowing down police operations.
The security forces involved in the overnight raid are part of the multi-agency team conducting the Operation Amani Boni that was launched in 2015 with the major objective being to flush out al-Shabab militants believed to be hiding inside the Boni forest.
Security sources privy to the operation said improvised explosive devices (IEDs), communication equipment, several uniforms, AK 47 rifles, two machine guns and bullets were recovered during the raid.
The killings come barely a week after the terror group in collaboration with a local militia killed 15 people in Lamu west.
Another group of security teams has been deployed in Taksile, Mangulo, Hadhi and across the border in pursuit of 10 militants who escaped after the raid.
The Boni forest has been used as the perfect hideout by the militants whenever they launch attacks in Lamu. The police said the militants are even reported to have a well-equipped base deep inside the forest.
Lamu County has been in the spotlight for some years now owing to increased attacks by the militants that have killed a number of security officers and civilians.