Kenyan officials say 14 people were killed in an attack by al-Shabab militants early Tuesday in Mandera county, close to the border with Somalia. Officials credit the swift response of security forces with preventing a greater tragedy.
Kenya Interior Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said the attack began after midnight, when a group of al-Shabab assailants raided a residential estate in Mandera town, setting off a bomb at the gate to gain entry.
“Immediately after the IED explosion, police on patrol swung into action and engaged the attackers who had gained access into the estate and started shooting residents at random,” he said.
Fourteen people were killed in the attack.
A local senator told VOA's Somali Service up to 20 militants may have been involved.
Nkaissery said the militants planned to lay siege to the entire compound, putting some 150 residents in danger.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in the same area where militants killed 36 sleeping quarry workers in December.
“Once again this attack is a clear reminder that al-Shabab and its collaborators are determined to disrupt and subvert our way of life. I take this opportunity to reiterate that Kenya shall never be cowed by these evil murderers,” said Nkaissery.
The Somalia-based militant group has launched several large-scale assaults in Kenya in retaliation for Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia. In the largest assault, militants killed 148 people at Garissa University College in April.