TRAGEDY struck in Kenya as a military helicopter crashed near the border with Somalia, claiming the lives of at least eight individuals, according to officials. The incident occurred in the coastal county of Lamu, and as of Tuesday, the cause of the crash remains unclear.
Kenyan defence forces have a significant presence in the region, primarily aimed at deterring al Qaeda-linked militants associated with the al Shabaab terror group, which operates across the border in Somalia. The Department of Defence disclosed that the air force helicopter was on a night patrol mission when the crash took place.
In response to the incident, a board of inquiry has been dispatched to the crash site to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash. Both a defence official and a police official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the lack of authorisation to communicate with reporters, confirmed that all military personnel and crew aboard the helicopter lost their lives in the tragic accident.
Kenyan troops have been actively involved in Somalia as part of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, contributing to efforts to combat the al Shabaab terrorist group. The Kenyan forces initially deployed to Somalia in 2011, but there are ongoing plans to withdraw multinational forces as Somali troops gradually assume responsibility for their country’s security.
In recent months, al Shabaab has intensified its attacks in Kenya, particularly in the border region. These attacks have resulted in the loss of numerous lives as the militant group faces mounting pressure from a Somali military offensive launched last year.
The helicopter crash serves as a stark reminder of the challenging security situation in the region, highlighting the risks faced by both Kenyan defence forces and the local population as they work to combat the threat posed by extremist groups along the Somali border.