Al-Shabaab militants responsible for last week’s murder of four Kenyan police officers in the northern county of Garissa have been killed by Kenyan forces, Garissa County Commissioner Rashid Khator told Xinhua Wednesday.
Speaking to Xinhua by phone, Khator said the militants were killed at the border town of Hulugho on Tuesday evening by the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), who had been pursuing the militants since last week.
“We believe these are the same individuals who were involved in the killings of our four police officers. Our KDF officers engaged them in a heavy exchange of fire and gunned down several of them,” said Khator, without specifying the number of militias who were killed.
The official said the militants were crossing the border to Somalia after they attacked a police camp at Galmagala Division, killing four unsuspecting police officers last Friday evening.
Khator said the group of about 20 militiamen were reportedly wearing camouflage uniforms similar to those of the Somalia Transitional Federal Government forces.
Khator said KDF and other security agents have mounted aggressive security operations along the border towns in order to apprehend the militia.
“Since last Friday incident where our officers were gunned down, we have enhanced our operation in the bushes and beefed up security along our borders. This is what led to the killing of the militia,” Khator said.
He said the security forces are also on hot pursuit, tracking down another splinter group of Al-Shabaab which was reportedly spotted along the border town of Amuma.
Meanwhile, normalcy has returned back to Galmagala town after security reinforcement in the restive region.
The deployment of more security forces in the town came after local residents urged the national government to either post more forces to the area or they will arm themselves as members of the Kenya Police Reservist (KPR).
Last Saturday, security chiefs from the county toured the area to assess the damage caused by the insurgents. They promised to ensure that more security officers are posted in the area.
Speaking to Xinhua at Galmagala, elder Yare Ali said that it could be wise to recruit and arm the locals to provide surveillance because they are more familiar with the local terrains and they can easily track the militiamen when similar attacks occurs in future.
The restive town and other towns in the region have been plagued by insecurity since late 2011 when Kenyan troops launched cross border incursion into southern Somalia in pursuit of Al- Qaida-linked militants.
Somali insurgents have threatened reprisal attacks in Kenya if her soldiers do not leave the Horn of Africa nation.
The country has been subjected to successive attacks along the Kenyan coast by Al-Shabaab operatives.
Recent grenade attacks in the northern region have prompted the authorities to heighten security in Nairobi, Mombasa and in the northern frontier.