Five Kenyan soldiers killed in roadside blast

Five Kenyan soldiers were killed on Wednesday when their vehicle was blown up by an improvised explosive device in the eastern Lamu county, police sources said.

"The officers were on a light truck that ran over the IED and was badly destroyed and the officers died on the spot. Six others have been injured," a senior police officer in Lamu told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Another police officer in Lamu confirmed the deaths but did not give any further information: "Yes it is true five soldiers were killed and six injured."

The attack, which the police blame on al-Qaeda aligned Somali Shabaab militants, took place on the road to the town of Bodhei near the Boni Forest, which the Islamists use as a refuge.

The use of homemade explosives against police and army patrols in the border areas of northern and eastern Kenya near Somalia is relatively common.

The Shabaab have claimed several such attacks in the past that have killed dozens of Kenyan policemen and soldiers.

The group has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu for over a decade.

They were expelled from the Somali capital in 2011 and lost most of their strongholds, but they still control large rural areas from where they carry out guerrilla operations and suicide bombings, including in Mogadishu.

Wednesday's blast came a day after the 20th anniversary of the attacks against the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998, which killed 224 people and marked the emergence of Al-Qaeda on the international stage.

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