Two dead in Kenya attack blamed on Shabaab
NAIROBI: Two people were killed on Saturday in an attack on a convoy of buses travelling in eastern Kenya under police protection, said interior ministry and police officials, who blamed Al Shabaab militants.
The buses and police vehicles were travelling from Lamu on the northern Kenyan coast near Somalia to Mombasa in the south.
Attackers struck at 11:00am (0800 GMT), leaving one police oficer and one civilian dead.
The area where the attack took place has been struck frequently in recent years by Al Qaeda-linked Shabaab militants.
“There was an exchange of ire between the security team that was escorting the buses and the attackers during which one civilian was shot dead and some police oficers suffered injuries,” interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said in a statement. The assault was carried out by “a gang of suspected Al Shabaab terrorists,” he added.
A high-ranking police oficial said that an oficer was also killed, and that the civilian victim had been travelling in a police vehicle.
Regional police chief Larry Kieng said a group of Shabaab militants ired rocket launchers at two police vehicles escorting the buses, causing them to go up in lames.
The Shabaab is ighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu but also regularly carries out attacks in neighbouring Kenya, which has troops in Somalia as part of an African Union force.
In its bloodiest single attack on Kenya so far, Shabaab gunmen raided a university in Garissa in April 2015 killing 148 people, most of them students, while in 2013 the group killed at least 67 people in an assault on a shopping mall in Nairobi.
Last month, a top UN oficial said, Somali refugees in Kenya are free to choose whether to go home, despite many families saying debts accumulated to feed their children after cuts in rations are forcing them to return to a war zone.
In October, a funding crisis forced the UN World Food Programme to cut basic food rations and cash in Dadaab camp in northern Kenya, housing nearly 240,000 refugees, by 50 per cent.
The United Nations said Dadaab suffered because it has been receiving Somalis for more than 25 years.
Donors are focused on new conlicts like Syria and South Sudan that are fuelling the world’s worst refugee crisis since World War Two.