Al-Shabab gunman kills Kenyan peacekeepers in Somalia

Al-Shabab gunman kills Kenyan peacekeepers in Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya – A lone gunman walked into a military base in Somalia and killed at least three Kenyan peacekeepers on Monday, the latest attack by extremist fighters opposed to the presence of foreigners in the Horn of Africa, Kenya’s military said.

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The gunman fired his rifle indiscriminately, wounding five other soldiers before he was gunned down, said a Kenyan military official who requested anonymity because he was not yet authorized to disclose the information.

The Monday morning attack took place at the Sarira Forward Operating Base in the Lower Jubba region of southern Somalia near the border with Kenya.

Al-Shabab confirmed through its media that it had carried out the attack.

“We believe the lone wolf was testing the ground for more such incidents. We need to be more careful and vigilant,” the Kenyan military official said. “As we approach the festivities, we need to be very vigilant about our surroundings. The terrorist threat remains widespread and all measures should be taken to tame any plot.”

Kenyan authorities are also urging vigilance after the start of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. In 2010, at least 76 people were killed when al-Shabab targeted a rugby club and a restaurant in the Ugandan capital Kampala, where customers were watching the World Cup final on giant screens.

“It is at this point that the militants know that we can let our guard down while watching” the World Cup, the official said.

Kenyan troops, deployed to Somalia under the banner of the African Union, are active along the border with Somalia. Peacekeepers from Burundi and Uganda are based in or near the Somali capital Mogadishu, seat of the federal government.

In recent years, al-Shabab fighters have launched cross-border attacks, particularly in the remote Kenyan counties of Mandera and Garissa, after breaching security zones.

The attacks have killed or injured dozens of civilians and security personnel. On Sunday, gunmen believed to be from al-Shabab attacked a police post in Mandera before being repulsed.

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