At least 12 killed in northern Kenya attack near Somalia
Islamic extremist gunmen from neighbouring Somalia killed 12 people in an attack on non-Muslims in Kenya’s northern Mandera County, an official said Tuesday.
Somalia’s al-Shabaab rebels claimed the responsibility for the early-morning attack on the Bishaaro Guest House, saying its fighters targeted Christians, according to the group’s radio station, Andalus.
The gunmen used grenades and homemade explosives to break into the guest house and then stormed in with guns, said Mohamed Saleh, Mandera’s regional commander.
Survivor Veronica Wambui, an actor with a group touring Mandera to showcase textbooks in schools, said they were asleep at around 2:30 a.m. when they heard explosions at the main gate to the guesthouse.
Kenya Extremist Attack
A man stands amid the debris at the scene of an attack in the town of Mandera on Tuesday. Gunmen used grenades and improvised explosive devices in the attack. (The Associated Press)
The attackers came in and went to room to room shooting and killing her colleagues, she said. She said she and others hid in a storeroom and the attackers set off another explosion which made the wall collapse on her.
“I could see the lights from the torch when they were checking out the room but the collapsed wall had covered me,” said Wambui, speaking from her hospital bed where she is being treated for a bullet wound in the palm of her left hand and injuries to both her legs.
The acting troupe came from Nairobi and had been touring schools in Mandera County, which is near the border with Somalia, for about a month. Two weeks ago a watchman was killed at the guesthouse and there were rumours that the lodging was being targeted.
Al-Shabaab has vowed retribution on Kenya for sending troops to Somalia since 2011 to fight the militants, who are waging an insurgency against Somalia’s weak, Western-backed government. Kenyan security forces have managed to stop al-Shabaab’s attacks in major cities in Kenya that have killed hundreds.