On Tuesday 3rd July 2018, a Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) infantry fighting vehicle, a BMP (Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty 1 as per the manufacturer), which was part of a convoy, was struck and destroyed by a remote controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED) in Lafey area of Mandera County in North Eastern Province of Kenya (NEP). Lafey is a town in the Mandera County of Kenya. It sits in the northeast part of the country, at the international border with Somalia
The Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen (HSM) issued a statement through its telegram propaganda channel claiming its cells in Mandera destroyed an army’s infantry fighting vehicle, specifically an armored BMP. The BMP is designed to carry an operations commander (OC), the vehicle driver, and a gunner, besides 8 infantry men/troops. The vehicle is armored with welded rolled steel.
The Army information office has not issued a statement though operations to identify and destroy cell locations and their remote control operating pads-safe-houses are going on in Lafey and surrounding frontier villages.
Analyzing the Terrorists Claim from a Threat Lens
Strategic Intelligence accessed the statement by the Somali Islamist group, Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen (HSM), and found an interesting entry in it. First, rarely does Shabaab profile the type of target but in this case, they profiled the Kenya Army Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty 1 (BMP) infantry fighting vehicle. In the celebratory claim, Shabaab Mujahideen claimed it destroyed the Kenya Army armored BMP infantry fighting vehicle. The 2 entries “armored and BMP”, betrays the Islamist’s fete’s crux.
The usual claims are often specific. It profiles both theater of event and number of causalities. The mention of the BMP vehicles can be seen as a celebration after a major success. The success Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen (HSM) was celebrating, according to S.I Threat Intelligence team, is the successful design, assembly, and deployment of a new type of Remoted Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED). The damage caused on the Kenya Army Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty 1 (BMP) infantry fighting vehicle was the success parameter. And if there were causalities, it’d mean more success to the terrorists, and that’s a very negative development.
Shabaab Mujahideen continues to demonstrate capability to plan and conduct cross-border terrorists attacks. Apart from conducting attacks, the terrorists group continues to employ jihadists with capability to develop improvised explosives capable of destroying conventional military hardware. This is a grave threat to regional security and efforts to stabilize the conflict prone Somalia