IED kills police officer, injures two civilians in Mandera

A police officer was killed in Mandera after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded on Thursday.

Two civilians were left with injuries after the explosion.

According to Mandera County Commissioner Amos Mariba, the device was loaded on a donkey cart.

Mr Mariba said the donkey cart, which was loaded with oil containers, was crossing the Kenya-Somalia border at Ina Bari in Mandera town when the incident happened.

“At about 10am we had an incident in which we lost an officer and two others were seriously injured,” Mr Mariba said by phone.

He said the officers were manning the border crossing point when the donkey cart approached from Somalia.

“The operator of this donkey cart jumped off and ran away before he triggered the explosive that injured our officers,” he said.

The Mandera county security boss said preliminary investigations have indicated that the attacker targeted the Kenyan police at the border.

“This same donkey cart had gone through a security check on the Somalia side of the border only for the device to explode on our officers. That shows our officers were the target,” he said.

Security agencies in the Somalia town of Bulahawa have since arrested one suspect.

“We are reaching out to the authorities in Bulahawa (Somalia) to release that suspect to us so that we can interrogate and prosecute him here,” Mr Mariba said.

He said security agencies have identified more suspects in Mandera town who worked with those in Somalia.

“We are closing in on other suspects linked to this incident from Mandera town. We have information on their operations and we shall be making more arrests,” he said.

The explosion caused a huge fire at the scene and left two donkeys with burns.

With the Kenya-Somalia border closed, police officers were deployed to man the many illegal points used in transporting contraband goods and other unwanted goods mostly from Somalia.

Attempts to reopen the border failed in July last year following what the government tempted as an increased wave of attacks.

In May last year, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and his Somali counterpart Mohamed Ahmed Sheikh Ali announced the intent to reopen the borders after high-level consultations in Nairobi and end a 12-year barricade that began in 2011 when Kenya launched an operation to fight the influx of al-Shabaab fighters into its territory.

The plan failed a month later with Kenya announcing a delay for reopening its border with neighboring Somalia because of a “wave of attacks” it blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group.

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