Several police officers were among at least eight people killed in an attack on a bus in northeast Kenya claimed by the Somali jihadist group al-Shebaab, a presidential spokesperson said Saturday, December 7.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had been briefed on the “brutal” murders of eight people, including police, during the jihadist attack in Wajir county, the spokesperson said in a statement.
“We lost seven police officers in the bus attack,” a senior police source told AFP.
“The total number of the people killed are 10. One was identified as a local doctor,” the source said.
“Security forces are pursuing the killers,” the state house spokesperson said, adding, “the government will not relent in its ruthless crackdown on criminal elements including suspected terrorists.”
The area where the attack took place borders Somalia, which is regularly the scene of Shebaab raids. The group later said in a statement that it was responsible for the attack.
One June 15, at least eight police officers were killed in similar circumstances in Wajir county. Ten officers are believed to have been killed in Garissa, near the Somalia border, when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in October.
Homemade weapons and bombs have been used to kill dozens of police and soldiers in the northern and eastern border regions, where such attacks are relatively common.
Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government. The army, which largely relies on African Union Mission in Somalia forces for military support, is regularly targeted.
The Shabaab was routed from Mogadishu in 2011 by the 22,000-strong AMISOM mission, and has had to abandon most of its strongholds, but it still controls vast rural areas and remains the key threat to peace in Somalia and carries out attacks in neighboring Kenya.
U.S. strikes in Somalia surged after President Donald Trump declared southern Somalia an “area of active hostilities” in April 2017, according to rights group Amnesty International.
With reporting from AFP