At least nine General Service Unit (GSU) soldiers were injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion along a road in the Jabibar area of Rhamu Sub County (Mandera County) on Monday, November 30. Three of the soldiers have been reported to be in critical condition following the blast and all have been taken to hospitals in Rhamu Town. Although not confirmed, local officials suspect Al-Shabaab militants to be responsible for the explosion, as they are known to operate in the region along the border with Somalia. The GSU has stated that additional personnel will be deployed to the area following the incident.
Further militant attacks are likely in Mandera County and other areas along Kenya's porous border with Somalia in the medium term.
Al-Shabaab has long posed a significant terrorist threat in areas along Kenya's border with Somalia. Since the Kenyan intervention against the group in Somalia in 2011, attacks have regularly been staged on security forces, government interests, and local communities in rural areas of the border counties of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, and Lamu. Many of these attacks have involved the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeting security forces patrols and civilian vehicles on remote border roads, but police outposts and communications infrastructure have also frequently been targeted.
Those in Mandera County are advised to monitor developments, avoid the area of the incident, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Due to the risk of Al-Shabaab attacks, many Western governments advise their citizens against travel to counties along Kenya's border with Somalia.