Suspected Al-Shabaab militants abducted three construction workers near Lafey (Mandera County) on Wednesday evening, September 23. Reports indicate that those abducted were traveling along the Mandera-Lafey road when they were flagged down by the militants. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the incident.
Further militant activity is to be anticipated in the area over the near term.
The incident on Wednesday follows reports on Monday, September 21, of government forces clashing with Al-Shabaab militants who ambushed a military convoy in Lafey. The attackers killed a security official and injured two others when they targeted the convoy, which was traveling on the Lafey to El-Wak road. At least five militants were killed in the ensuing exchange of fire before the attackers fled the scene.
Al-Shabaab has long posed a significant terrorist threat in areas along Kenya's border with Somalia. Since the Kenyan intervention against the group in Somalia in 2011, attacks have regularly been staged on security forces, government interests, and local communities in rural areas of the border counties of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, and Lamu. Many of these attacks have involved the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeting security forces patrols and civilian vehicles on remote border roads, but police outposts and communications infrastructure have also frequently been targeted.
Those in Mandera County are advised to monitor developments, avoid the area of the incident, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Due to the risk of Al-Shabaab attacks, many Western governments have advised against travel to counties along Kenya's border with Somalia.
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