At least two Kenyan soldiers who are part of the African Union(AU) peacekeeping force in Somalia were killed in Garissa, a base for security forces in Kenya fighting insurgents in neighbouring Somalia, Kenya’s army spokesman said on Monday.
The soldiers were taking their truck for repairs at the town’s main market when they were attacked.
“The soldiers that have been killed are Kenyan Defence Force soldiers (who are part of) AMISOM troops,” Colonel Cyrus Oguna, a Kenyan army spokesman, told Reuters, referring to the African Union Mission in Somalia, Reuters reports.
“Two are confirmed dead. They were trying to conduct some repairs in a nearby garage when they were attacked.”
It was not immediately clear if the attackers were connected to Somali Islamist militants and their sympathisers, blamed by the government in Nairobi for a surge in grenade and gun attacks in the past year following Kenya’s deployment of troops into Somalia to battle al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels.
Garissa, a market centre for trade in camels, donkeys, goats and cattle some 200 km (120 miles) from the Somali border, is an operating centre for the military mission in Somalia and a target for Somali insurgents.
Kenyan soldiers and Somali forces seized Kismayu, al Shabaab’s last major urban stronghold in southern Somalia, six weeks ago, driving the militants out. The rebels vowed to retaliate and Kenya has since suffered numerous gun and grenade raids.