A police officer was killed and two others were injured on Thursday morning when a donkey cart loaded with explosives detonated at the Mandera border crossing point of Ina Bari, officials said.
The incident occurred at around 9:50 a.m. when the cart, which was being pulled by two donkeys from the Somali side of the border, was stopped by the border police for inspection, according to North Eastern Regional Commissioner John Otieno.
“As the officers were checking the luggage, the cart exploded, killing one officer on the spot and injuring two others. The two donkeys also died in the blast,” Otieno told reporters at the scene.
He said the explosive device was remotely controlled by suspected Al Shabaab militants, who have been carrying out attacks in the region for years.
“The cart was carrying fuel products, which we believe were meant to cause more damage and fire. This is a cowardly act by the terrorists, who are trying to disrupt the peace and security of our country,” he said.
Otieno said the injured officers were taken to Mandera County Referral Hospital for treatment, and that their condition was stable.
He also said that security agencies had launched a manhunt for the guide who was accompanying the cart, and who fled after the explosion.
“We have intensified our patrols and surveillance along the border to prevent such incidents from happening again. We urge the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities or persons to the authorities,” he said.
Al Shabaab, a Somali-based Islamist militant group affiliated with al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was targeting Kenyan security forces.
The group has been fighting to overthrow the Somali Federal Government and establish a strict Islamic state in the Horn of Africa.
It has also been staging cross-border raids and bombings in Kenya, especially in the northeastern region, in retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
In October 2022, at least 10 passengers were killed and several others wounded when their matatu (minibus) ran over a bomb planted on the road along the Arabia-Mandera Highway.
In March 2022, three employees of a road construction company were injured when their vehicle hit an explosive device on the Banisa-Mandera road.
In January 2022, four Ukrainian citizens were among those captured when a UN helicopter made an emergency landing in Somalia after being shot at by Al Shabaab fighters.