Wajir county, Kenya
Wajir county, Kenya

NAIROBI - Eight Kenyan security personnel were killed in an attack by al-Shabab fighters Sunday in northeastern Wajir County. The area has been a frequent site of attacks by militants crossing the border from Somalia.

The security personnel were on patrol when they were attacked near the town of Bojigaras.

Authorities said the car the security officers were traveling in ran over an improvised explosive device.  After the explosion, al-Shabab fighters opened fire.

"[Al-Shabab] started shooting at them and killed all of them, only to leave one who was still alive," said Issa Ahmed Abdi, a member of the Wajir county assembly, "but when we were bringing him to Wajir referral hospital, he succumbed to the injuries on the way."

Authorities said the militants fled toward the Somalia border. 

Locals had expressed concern about an impending attack, and the information was passed along to security forces, but to no avail, according to Ahmed Abdi.

"It could have been prevented, because the public have actually given firsthand information that these elements were there and that these elements themselves said they are going to do an action that the people will regret," he said.

Northeastern Kenya has been the site of some of al-Shabab's most deadly attacks. In December 2014, the group killed 38 non-Muslims at a quarry in Mandera.

In April 2015, gunmen stormed the Garissa University College, killing 148 people and injuring more than 100.

This is the second al-Shabab attack in the county this year; in February, militants killed three people at Qarsa Primary School.

Al-Shabab has targeted Kenya in retaliation for the country's involvement in AMISOM, the African Union force in Somalia that backs the federal government.