Several police officers were injured on Monday evening after Al-Shabaab attacked their convoy at Yumbis in Fafi Sub-County, Garissa County.
The officers were travelling to Yumbis in four vehicles to reinforce the squad that was battling the militants who had attacked and injured their colleagues on Monday afternoon.
The attack sparked confusion in government, with State House, Interior ministry, the police and local administration giving conflicting figures on the number of injured officers.
MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCE
The Presidential Strategic Communications Unit, for instance, posted a tweet stating that President Uhuru Kenyatta had sent a message of condolence to families of police officers killed in the attack.
The tweet was, however, deleted, with Director of Digital Communications in the Office of the President Dennis Itumbi apologising for the error.
Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet in a statement said five officers were hurt and five vehicles reduced to ashes, while a post on the Interior ministry’s Twitter page said only one policeman was injured.
Mr Boinnet said Al-Shabaab gunmen attacked the officers as they patrolled Yumbis area.
“Arising from the attack, a contingent of police officers responded and on arrival at the scene, engaged attackers in heavy fire gunfight,” he said.
Garissa County Commissioner James Kianda said five police officers out of the 30 deployed to Yumbis sustained bullet injuries.
He said the militants set alight police vehicles after the officers disembarked and pursued a section of the gunmen on foot.
Jarajila Ward Rep Mahat Osman told Nation.co.ke that at least eight policemen were injured in both attacks.
On its part, Al-Shabaab claimed it had killed 25 officers but the Interior ministry dismissed the allegation.
Al-Shabaab military spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab on Tuesday told Reuters that 20 officers were killed in the evening ambush while five died in the landmine attack.
“We took all their weapons. There were some Kenyan forces that escaped in the course of the ambush fighting,” he was quoted as having said by the Reuters, adding that five police vehicles had been burnt.
In the Monday afternoon attack, three police officers were injured after their vehicle ran over a land mine.
Mr Osman said the police officers were heading to Yumbis Location when the vehicle ran over the landmine at Yarey.
He said the injured officers were taken to Garissa Referral Hospital.
The attack on police officers comes a week after Al-Shabaab militants attacked Yumbis and preached to locals for hours.