The Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) launched retaliatory airstrikes against a major Al-Shabaab base in the Boni Forest (Garissa county) on Monday, July 10. The base is said to be the hideout of Somali militiamen blamed for several deadly attacks on civilians and security personnel in the region over the past two weeks. According to a military spokesperson, the strikes mark the beginning of a "serious security operation" in the Boni forest. Further security operations should be expected in the area in the coming days and weeks.
The Kenyan government imposed a curfew for the counties of Lamu, Garissa, and Tana River on Saturday, July 8, in anticipation of further attacks. The curfew, which lasts from 18:30 until 06:30 (local time), is in effect from July 9 through October 9.
Al-Shabaab has increased activity along the border region with Somalia in recent months. According to media reports, at least 46 people have been killed in Lamu and Mandera counties since March 2017.
Nine civilians were killed by Al-Shabaab militants in Lamu county during early morning attacks on Saturday, July 8. According to media reports, the attacks took places in the villages of Jima and Poromoko. Villagers said that the militants went through homes searching for non-Muslim men, who were then beheaded.
Al-Shabaab regularly carries out attacks near the porous border with Somalia where the group is based, as well as in coastal areas popular with tourists and the capital Nairobi. The militant group has been effectively at war with the country since Kenyan forces engaged in the international fight against the terrorist group beginning in October 2011. Al-Shabaab, which seeks to topple Somalia's government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Sharia law, says it will continue to carry out attacks in Kenya until Nairobi withdraws its troops from the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Individuals in Kenya are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities and be particularly cautious when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (government buildings, places of worship, tourist sites, etc.). Due to these and other security concerns, many Western governments advise against travel to a number of regions in the country, including areas bordering Somalia (parts of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, and Lamu counties), Ethiopia, and South Sudan, as well as nonessential travel to the city of Mombasa. Several Nairobi neighborhoods, including Eastleigh and Pangani, are also best avoided.
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