Conflict along Kenya-Somalia border raises danger on both sides

Story highlights

  • Kenyan officers injured when their car strikes a land mine
  • Another police vehicle struck a land mine less than two weeks ago
  • The escalating conflict in Somalia threatens people on both sides of the border
  • U.N.: 24 Somali children killed, 58 injured in October
Two Kenyan police officers were injured in Dadaab refugee camp in Northern Kenya when their vehicle struck a land mine on Tuesday, according to a senior official.
"The police car was traveling from Hagadera camp to the Dadaab police station," said Dadaab District Commissioner Ndambuki Muthike.
Muthike said that the rear of the vehicle struck the land mine and two policemen at the back of the vehicle sustained injuries.
"They are in a stable condition in Dadaab," said Muthike, adding that the injuries were not life-threatening.
Less than two weeks ago another police vehicle struck a land mine on the same road without detonating it.
Kenyan troops are battling the Islamic extremist group Al-Shabaab in neighboring Somalia.
"With the fighting in Somalia," Muthike said, "we now have some of the terrorist here in Dadaab. But this is an isolated incident."
The increasing danger caused by the escalating conflict in Somalia is a concern especially for children, the United Nations Children's Fund said in a statement.
"Somali children's lives are being put more and more in grave danger with the increasing conflict," said UNICEF representative Sikander Khan.
According to the U.N.'s monitoring and reporting mechanism, 24 children have been killed in the conflict in October -- nearly double the number of child killings confirmed in every other month this year. Another 58 children sustained serious injuries last month, the largest number of children injured as a result of the armed conflict in Somalia in any month this year.
The U.N. has confirmed nearly 300 children seriously injured and over 100 children killed in the ongoing conflict this year.
Though the death rate is already high, Khan believes it could be even greater, because many deaths go unreported.
"Increasing numbers of children and civilians are being caught in attacks and cross-fire across the south and centre of Somalia," said Khan.
The recruitment and use of children for armed services and sexual violence against children and women are other concerns for UNICEF. Khan has called for an end to the violence by all parties involved in the Somalia conflict.
"All children must immediately be assured of safety and protection from hostile acts," the statement said.
The escalating violence also threatens the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in the region who need help.
"Many of the hundreds of thousands of children already facing a situation of life and death due to famine and disease are now facing the risk of having life-saving assistance cut off to them."
Since the abduction of two foreign workers of Doctors Without Borders, U.N. and charity groups have significantly scaled back their humanitarian work at the world's largest refugee camp.