Security officials in Kenya said at least 23 al-Shabab fighters were killed by Kenyan Special forces during the ambush in Orgene village, in Mandera County in northeast Kenya.
Six Kenyan soldiers were killed during the encounter that left eight others injured.
The incident comes just a day after the country’s security minister Kithure Kindiki vowed to flush militants from Kenyan territories while on a security tour of the country’s northeast.
“There is an increasing tendency of terrorists to attack our people including our security officers,” Kindiki said. “We will sustain the war, we will win the war and we request for the patience and cooperation of the public.”
In the last month, militant groups have killed at least 25 people in a spate of terror attacks near the Kenya-Somalia border. Addressing residents in Wajir, Kindiki said Kenya will use all possible means to eradicate terrorists and their sympathizers from the region.
“We are going to upscale our partnership between the security agencies and the local communities to ensure that we flush out this enemy, the way our neighbors in Somalia have collaborated between the security agencies and the local communities,” Kindiki said.
Al-Shabab operations along the Somalia border in northeastern Kenya have disrupted development and caused suffering to locals in the counties of Wajir, Garissa and Mandera. Speaking to journalists Friday, Wajir County Governor Ahmed Abdullahi urged locals to help security agencies defeat the militants.
“We must work with our security agencies,” Abdullahi said. “We must give information and we must be at the forefront ourselves of fighting Al-Shabab.”
Earlier this year, Kenya announced plans to reopen its border with Somalia, which has been closed for over a decade. Those plans have now changed following the increase in militant attacks.
In the past, Islamist al-Shabab militants have attacked Kenyan cities and towns, trying to force the withdrawal of Kenyan troops from Africa Union-led peacekeeping forces in Somalia.