Two vehicles were on Sunday afternoon destroyed by suspected Al Shabaab militants at Milihoi area in Lamu County.
The drivers of the two vehicles were however able to escape unhurt. They jumped from their vehicles and hid in the nearby dense thickets within the area. The affected vehicles were, a road construction excavator belonging to H-Young contractors who are tasked with building the Lamu-Witu Road and a Bamburi Cement Lorry that was on its way to Lamu.
The Bamburi Cement lorry driver, Titus Kiplagat Bore, in an exclusive interview with KNA narrated how he was able to save his life by chance.
“It was as I was driving through Milihoi area that I noticed four men standing across the road whom initially I thought were KDF soldiers. I slowed down only to notice that the H-Young excavator’s driver’s cabin was burning up and I fled for my life,” he revealed, further stating that they began shooting at the lorry and he fled and hid in a thicket on the side of the road.
He further revealed that it was as they were shooting that the lorry caught fire after they hit the engine, which was still running.
Shaken by the incident, Kiplagat also narrated how it only took KDF personnel five minutes to arrive at the scene and thwart any further attacks.
He was only found later, hiding in a nearby thicket by KDF personnel who responded to the scene almost immediately after the attack.
The excavator driver could however not be reached as he had fled to the H-Young camp site, with other workers at other sections of the road abandoning their stations after they heard about the incident.
Separately, security agents interviewed by KNA intimated that they were able to respond quickly to the attack after they noticed the shots being fired were suspicious.
“A multi-agency team was carrying out their regular patrols and checks on vehicles nearby when they heard the shots, to which they ably responded and put out the fire from both vehicles,” the Lamu County Commissioner (CC), Irungu Macharia revealed.
He further commended the security agents for quick response that thwarted any possibility of another attack from occurring.
“A manhunt is ongoing, however these criminals are on notice now, since it is becoming harder and harder for them to carry out ambush attacks on the Lamu-Witu road due to improved security along this stretch,” Macharia said.
The failed ambush attack, however led to a traffic snarl up due to the destroyed lorry being in the middle of the Milihoi section of the road.
“We would like to assure residents as well as travelers and road users that their safety is guaranteed as long they comply with the government directive of making use of police escorts,” the county commissioner stated.
The senior government official also urged members of the public to be more forthcoming with information that can lead to apprehension of Al Shabaab suspects.
Two years ago the late Principal Secretary for Public Works, Mariam El Maawy’s vehicle was attacked by the insurgents within the same area leading to the death of three people excluding her. She however suffered serious injuries during the attack that later led to her demise.
However, such attacks have since decreased due to improved security along the Lamu- Witu road with more road checks by KDF and police personnel.
By Amenya Ochieng