Gunmen have reportedly ambushed and killed at least two bus passengers in an attack in northeastern Mandera county close to the border with Somalia.
The bus travelling from Nairobi to Mandera, believed to be carrying more than 50 passengers, was attacked between Kotulo and El-Wak in Mandera county early on Sunday, according to the chief administrator of Kenya’s northeastern region, Mohamud Saleh.
“The attackers tried to wave the bus down but then sprayed it with bullets when the driver refused to stop. Two people were killed and at least three people were injured in the attack. It is not yet clear who is behind the assault, but I’m not ruling out that this was a case of banditry.”
– Mohamud Saleh
Speaking to the Nation, Deputy County Commissioner Julius Otieno said: “Initial reports indicate two people have died and three injured. Those injured are the driver and two passengers. The militants fled after the attack. Our team is on the ground tracking down the attackers. They were trying to identify who were Christians and who were not. They told the non-Christians to return to vehicle.”
Mandera Governor Ali Roba who spoke to the newspaper by phone from outside the country said the Muslim stood together with the non-Muslims refusing to separate and dared the attackers to either kill all of them or leave.
“This forced the militants to leave in a hurry fearing retaliation by residents from nearby villages. The locals showed a sense of patriotism and belonging to each other by insisting that the Al-Shabaab should kill them together or leave them alone.” – Mandera Governor, Ali Roba
Mr Roba also revealed that intelligence reports from local pastoralist communities indicate that more than 200 Al-Shabaab had crossed into Kotulo from Somalia in the past three weeks.