An extremist attack targeting non-Muslims along Kenya’s northeast border with Somalia on Tuesday has killed 12 people, according to a Kenyan official.
Militants belonging to the Somalia-based militant group al-Shabab attacked the Bisharo Guest House, a lodging in Mandera County that hosts out-of-towners, with grenades and IEDs, Mandera County commander Job Boronjo said.
"It is true there was an attack. Rescue efforts are ongoing," he said.
Al-Shabab immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in a message posted on its telegram messaging channel. The group says the attack targeted "Christian workers."
The attack Tuesday marks the latest in several cross-border attacks attributed to al-Shabab since Kenya intervened in Somalia in 2011.
People gather at the scene of an attack in the town of Mandera, Kenya, near the border with Somalia, Oct. 25, 2016.
In Somalia, a suicide bomber detonated a truck bomb Tuesday at an African Union peacekeeping base, killing at least four African Union peacekeepers and two civilians, security sources told VOA’s Somali Service. The attack occurred in Beledweyne, 300 kilometers north of the capital Mogadishu.
“A suicide bomber speeding a truck full of explosives drove into the front gate of Djibouti peacekeepers' base in Hawlwadag district in the town,” Yuusuf Ahmed Hagar, the governor of the region told VOA's Somali Service.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, also claiming it had killed 17 peacekeepers.
Scene of al-Shabab attack in Beledweyne, Oct. 25, Somalia 2016. (Photo: Courtesy Mohamed Osman Makaran)
Commander of the Djibouti forces in Somalia, Colonel Hassan Jama Farah only confirmed the death of two soldiers. He said the militants disguised the truck as a vehicle carrying farm produce.
“The truck was carrying vegetables, it was driving past the base when the driver suddenly turned it towards the checkpoint,” he said. "Soldiers fired upon the truck killing the driver; then the truck turned left and right and exploded about 20 meters from the base.”
He said after the explosion about 10 gunmen emerged from the neighborhood and attacked the base, adding that peacekeepers responded, killing some of the attackers.
“They wanted to stage a repeat of the attacks in Mogadishu by storming the base but they failed,” he said.
Scene of al-Shabab attack in Mandera, Kenya, Oct. 25, 2016. (Photo: Courtesy Mohamed Osman Makaran)
Al-Shabab has been fighting since 2006 to overthrow the Somali government and establish a state based on the group's strict version of Islamic law.