GARISSA, KENYA —
Gunmen shot dead eight people when they sprayed bullets into a hotel restaurant in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa on Thursday, the Kenya Red Cross said.
The east African nation has suffered a series of grenade and gun attacks since it sent troops into neighbouring Somalia in late 2011 to pursue the al Shabaab rebels linked to al Qaeda.
Though the wave of attacks on the capital Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa, and Garissa has tapered off in recent weeks, the latest incident shows the new government of President Uhuru Kenyatta will still have to wrestle with insecurity.
The Kenya Red Cross said on Twitter that eight people were killed while five others suffered gunshot wounds and were evacuated to a local hospital.
Charlton Mureithi, the regional police chief, said the attack happened at a restaurant called Kwa Chege, adding they were investigating who was behind the attack and trying to establish the number of fatalities.
"Crime is dynamic. We have to establish the motive now," Mureithi told Reuters.
Al Shabaab has been driven from the Somali capital Mogadishu and the major towns, but still controls large parts of the countryside in Somalia. In February, al Shabaab warned Kenya it faced a "long, gruesome" war if it kept up its campaign against the hardline Islamist group inside Somalia.