Terror organisation al-Shabaab has claimed an attack that killed 28 people on a bus in Northern Kenya. The attack occurred after 100 armed gunmen, who are believed to have travelled over the border in Mandera County from Somalia, took the bus off the road before separating the passengers.
Reports are suggesting that the gunmen would take each individual in turn and ask them to recite passages from the Koran; those who were unable to recite those passages were shot. This was done to prove that either the passengers were practising Muslims or had read the Koran in depth.
A statement on a website linked to the extremist organisation has said that the attack was carried out in retaliation for security raids on mosques in the coastal city of Mombassa earlier in the week.
The Kenyan Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government; has claimed on their official account, “Attackers camp has been destroyed by KDF using helicopters and jets, many killed, operations continue.”
The bus was travelling to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, when it was stopped in the northern county that borders Somalia.
Around 60 people were on the bus at the time of the attack, and it is thought that among the dead are Kenyan public servants. This includes four police officers who are thought to have been heading to the capital for the Christmas holiday.
Mandera East deputy County Commissioner, Elvis Korir, said the passengers were separated into two groups. The Somali passengers watched in horror as non-Somalis were herded away from the bus and then killed. Korir added that many of the details of the attack are still unknown at this time, but that the deaths underscore fears over the lack of security, especially in the remote parts of northern Kenya.
Abdullahi Abdirahman, the Arabiya Ward Representative has said “This place has been prone to attacks, this is not the first time the government has totally ignored us, and you can now see the how many innocent precious lives have been lost”.
This does not represent the first time attacks of this nature have occurred in Kenya. In early November, gunmen killed 20 police officers and two police reservists in an ambush in Turkana County; which is in the northwest region.
The amount of armed gunman in the area could well be due to the proximity to warring nations such as Somalia and Ethiopia. This is also where the armed Oromo Liberation Front has made incursions into Kenya forcing residents to take up arms in defence.
Since 2011 the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabaab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has carried out a series of attacks in Kenya, including the Westgate Mall attack in which 67 people were killed.