On January 3, a unit of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Somalian group al-Shabaab crossed the border into Kenya and attacked a vehicle of the Kenyan Police in the northeastern Mandera county on the Kenyan-Somali border, according to Reuters.
Daniel Bundotich, the deputy country commissioner for Mandera South, told Reuters that four Kenyan policemen and a civilian were killed in the al-Shabaab cross-border attack. Bundotich added that al-Shabaab fighters destroyed a vehicle of the Kenyan Police during the attack.
“The militants also set on fire a police lorry … The police officers were on patrol along Elwak-Kutolo when they were ambushed,” Bundotich told Reuters.
Lately, the al-Shabaab group launched dozens of attacks against the Kenyan Police from its positions in the areas of El Adde, Busar and Cows Qurun in southwestern Somalia near the Kenyan-Somali border. Reuters said that dozens of Kenyan policemen were killed in these attacks.
Keyna became a target of al-Shabaab group mainly because it’s a part of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), which supports the Somali Federal Government against the al-Qaeda-affiliated group. However, the AMISOM and the Federal Government backed by the US were not able to make any real achievements in their war on al-Shabaab.
The war on al-Shabaab is currently restricted to few US airstrikes against the group. The US conducted an airstrike and destroyed a VBIED of al-Shabaab 50km west of the Somali capital Mogadishu on January 2, according to an official statement of the US Army Africa Command (AFRICOM).
Due to this limited strategy, experts believe that the threat of al-Shabaab could increase in 2018 not only in Somalia, but also in the countries bordering it.