One person died and two others suffered injuries after their vehicle ran over an IED in the Sankuri area of Lamu county on Monday morning.
The explosive was suspected to have been planted by al Shabaab militants who have continued their attacks in the region, mostly targeting security vehicles.
The deceased, who has since been identified as 28-year-old ranger Ali Hamza Kimango, worked with the Aweer Community Conservancy and had hiked a lift in a county bowser that was distributing water to residents of Boni Forest areas.
The vehicle had just left the Mararani area and was headed for Kiunga on the Lamu-Somali border. The incident happened at Sankuri deep inside the dense Boni Forest, an infamous hideout for al Shabaab militants.
The deceased was buried the same day at his home in Basuba, Lamu East, as per Islamic traditions. He is survived by a widow and seven children.
Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia said the truck driver and a high school student, who had hiked a lift, were in critical condition as they suffered severe burns.
“The driver suffered serious burns on the chest and hands, while the student’s injuries are grave as his lower body was literally blown apart. Both are in critical condition.
“The enemy might be from within. We suspect that those conducting these attacks are hiding amongst us. That is why we are asking the community to work with us by providing information that helps identify the culprits,” Macharia said.
He said they had intensified security patrols and were in hot pursuit of the assailants.
The Sankuri area where the incident happened falls within the multiagency security Operation Amani Boni zones.
The operation was launched in September 2015 by the national government with the objective to flush the militants out of the expansive Boni Forest.
On October 12, a KDF soldier was injured after their vehicle ran over an IED at a location between Milimani and Baure.
On September 26, 15 Shabaab militants were killed after their vehicle mistakenly ran over an IED planted by another group of the militia in the Ishakani area, close to the Lamu-Somalia border.
The militants continue to wreak havoc in Lamu and other areas close to the Kenya-Somali border, with most attacks targeting security vehicles on patrol.
The Shabaab militia is also believed to have deployed its operatives along the Kenya-Somalia border with much of their movement witnessed within the Kenyan territory, especially in Kiunga, Kisauni Dam, Sankuri, Basuba and Milimani areas of Lamu.
There are growing concerns that they will continue attacking security installations, main supply routes, public service vehicles, frequented public areas and other vulnerable points, as well as planting IEDs.