Cop returns to camp 17 days after vanishing during raid on Al-Shabaab hideout

A member of a multi-agency security team tasked with neutralising Al-Shabaab militants in Lamu County has resurfaced 17 days after he went missing while on mission.

Police Constable Norman Mwongera on Wednesday, June 2 returned to the Basuba GSU camp after a mission to neutralise the insurgent group at their hideout in Mangai area ended in eight law enforcement officers vanishing.

Besides Mwongera, the seven other members of the multi-agency team are yet to be found.

On Wednesday, Mwongera returned to the Basuba GSU camp at 9:40am. He had two gunshot wounds, one in the thigh and another in the arm.

“He was taken to hospital for emergency treatment,” an officer, who is at the Basuba GSU camp, told The Standard in confidence.

Mwongera had his firearms, a Ceska pistol and IWI Negev machine gun, when he returned to the camp.

Another member of the special operations group, who is not mandated to speak publicly on behalf of the team, told The Standard that Mwongera was among ten law enforcement officers, who were responding to an alert after Al-Shabaab militants were reportedly spotted gathering at Mangai area on May 17.

“The militants attempted to thwart the ambush by firing at our helicopter. The aircraft was, consequently, forced to land. Our officers, thereafter, took cover,” he said.

“Unfortunately, eight went missing, with seven yet to be accounted for. Only Mwongera has returned,” he said.

It remains unclear how Mwongera survived for 17 days in the forest.

Two members of the special operations group died during the exchange of gunfire.

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