Kenya Soldier Killed in Ambush by Suspected al-Shabaab Militants

A Kenyan soldier died and five gunmen were killed in a firefight with suspected al-Shabaab militants in the coastal region of Lamu near the Somali border, the army said.

Three soldiers were injured in the clashes at Basuba, about 470 kilometers (290 miles) southeast of the capital, Nairobi, army spokesman David Obonyo said in a statement posted on the website of Kenya’s defense ministry.

“Kenya troops disrupted a suspected al-Shabaab ambush,” Obonyo said. “Five suspected militants were killed and others escaped with multiple injuries.”

Al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda linked Islamist militant group, has carried out a series of attacks in Kenya since the East African nation deployed troops in Somalia in October 2011 to fight the insurgents. In September 2013, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi in which at least 67 people died.

Kenyan authorities imposed a curfew in Lamu in July after attacks in the region, including one in the town of Mpeketoni, which left at least 60 people dead.

The troops involved in the clashes yesterday were serving under the multinational African Union force that is helping Somali government troops fight al-Shabaab. They were traveling to a base at Ras Kamboni in southeastern Somalia “for routine administrative duties,” Obonyo said.

Lamu County Commissioner Fredrick Ndambuki didn’t answer calls to his phone seeking comment.

Last year, at least 290 people died in “incidents of terrorism and political violence” across Kenya, according to Maplecroft, the Bath-based risk consultancy.

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