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Three officers die in fierce Shabaab raid on Kenyan police camp

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Three policemen were killed Wednesday in seven hours of fighting with suspected Shabaab militants who attacked their post in southeastern Kenya, police said.

Regional police chief Akello Odhiambo said the attackers raided the Pandanguo Police Camp in the coastal Lamu region.

“They razed a police camp and destroyed a Safaricom mast, disrupting communication among the security personnel based in Lamu. The gun fight took over seven hours before security agents took over the area,” he said.

He said army officers in a nearby camp were among the first to respond to the attack and engaged the Shabaab in aerial and ground fighting.

A separate police statement said “three officers are confirmed dead, one is seriously injured and 14 were unhurt”.

One officer was unaccounted for.

The statement said the attackers used rocket-propelled grenades.

In 2014 a series of armed Shabaab assaults left nearly 100 people dead in Lamu county, leading to a collapse in tourism on Kenya’s once-popular coast after foreign governments warned their nationals against travel to the area.

A police source told AFP that security agents had been warned of a possible Shabaab attack after about 100 militants were spotted by locals near the county’s border with Somalia.

There has been a spike in attacks on Kenya with a string of roadside bombs, most of them claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab, leaving more than 20 police and a dozen civilians dead since May.

In Lamu county four children and four police officers were killed by a roadside bomb last week, while seven police officers and one civilian died in a similar attack in May.

Since 2007, the Shabaab has fought to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Somalia but began attacking Kenya in 2011 after Nairobi ordered its troops into Somalia to fight the militants.

Kenyan soldiers are now part of a 22,000-member African Union mission fighting there.

In 2013, Shabaab gunmen raided a shopping mall in the capital Nairobi killing 67 people, and in 2015 a similar attack on a university in Garissa left 148 dead.

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