Kenyan police said Saturday they are pursuing a group of al-Shabab militants believed to have crossed into vast Boni Forest in the coastal Lamu county in Kenya.
Fred Ochieng, Tana River County police commander, said the 11 young al-Shabab suspects who looked wounded confronted a civilian on Friday at the thicket in Kilengwani in Tana Delta where the civilian had gone to cut some building sticks.
“They threatened to shoot him, however, later on they released him on the condition that he does not tell the villagers about their presence in the area,” said Ochieng.
He noted that the 11 young militants were speaking in Kiswahili, suspected to be al-Shabab operatives.
Ochieng said security services have been mobilized to extensively patrol the area which is along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast.
“The suspected al-Shabab operatives are now believed to have crossed over into Boni forest in Lamu. Police are on high alert,” he added.
The latest move comes after the militants killed four people on Thursday when they attacked a convoy of commuter buses in the coastal area.
The four were killed when the vehicles were sprayed with bullets by about ten insurgents in the Nyongoro area of Lamu County in coastal Kenya.
The Kenyan soldiers later responded and killed four suspected al-Shabab fighters and captured one, said Coast Regional Coordinator John Elungata.
Elungata said some militants escaped with injuries and are believed to have fled in the dense Boni Forest where the insurgents use as their hideout location.
The Boni forest has numerously been used as the perfect hideout by the militants whenever they launch attacks in Lamu. The police said the militants are even reported to have a well-equipped base deep inside the forest.