Five people were on Friday killed by suspected al-Shabab militants in Kenya’s coastal Lamu County, a senior regional security officer confirmed on Saturday.
The officer said four road construction workers for the China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) were sprayed with bullets by a group of heavily armed militants as they worked on the Kwa Omollo Bridge in Boni forest.
The security who declined to be named said the militants gained access to the area at about 1:00 p.m. and shot randomly at them.
“The fifth casualty, a motorcycle rider who was passing through the area from Bodhei towards Hindi was also shot in the melee,” the officer told Xinhua on the phone. He said the five men were killed on the spot.
The officer said the militants also torched two construction vehicles (tippers) and several motorbikes belonging to the workers at the camp.
He said four other people among them a Chinese national suffered serious gunshot wounds and have since been airlifted to the Manda navy base by the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF).
The officer revealed that two Chinese foremen with the CCCC company were briefly taken hostage by the militants, tortured and released, noting that one of the Chinese nationals had his hands chopped off during the ordeal.
“When they came, they shot into the air and people scampered for safety. It’s in the process that five workers were shot dead. They briefly took hostage two Chinese workers with the construction company but later released them but one was badly bleeding because his hands had been cut off,” said the officer.
Thirteen other people survived the ordeal by hiding in the nearby bushes and have since been evacuated by security forces.
The area has been sealed off to pave way for a massive security operation as security officers pursue the militants who fled into the Boni forest shortly after the attack.
The slain laborers were part of a team under the CCCC Limited who are currently undertaking the construction of the 17.9 billion shillings (about 158 million U.S. dollars) Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Project access road.
On Jan. 23 al-Shabab militants torched eight construction vehicles and equipment belonging to the same company in the same area. Enditem