NAIROBI, Jun 12 – Six people have been killed in an ambush in northeastern Kenya’s border region with war-torn Somalia, police said Wednesday following the latest in a string of attacks.
Unidentified gunmen attacked a pickup truck laden with passengers late Tuesday near Qooqae in the northeastern Mandera region, a troubled area hit by multiple attacks in recent months, local police chief Joseph Tenai said.
“The survivors have told us they were attacked when the gunmen emerged from a bush and sprayed the vehicle with bullets, killing four people on the spot,” Tenai said. “The bodies of two other people were found this morning.”
Those killed include schoolchildren, although Tenai could not say how many. Four other people are believed missing.
The attacks are the latest in a series of grenade blasts or shootings to have hit Kenya.
While no group claimed responsibility, Kenyan police have previously blamed similar attacks on supporters or members of Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents.
Most attacks have been along Kenya’s volatile northeastern border with Somalia, although both Nairobi and Mombasa have been targeted as well.
Kenyan troops invaded southern Somalia in 2011 to attack Shebab bases, and have now joined an African Union force to battle the extremists there.
Kenya’s invasion however sparked an angry reaction and warnings of revenge from the Islamists.
Kenya is also backing a controversial warlord in the southern Somali region, opposed by militia forces from rival clans.