Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked a public passenger bus in Mandera, northern Kenya, early Saturday, killing 28 people and injured several others, government official and police confirmed.
Mandera East Deputy County Commissioner, Elvis Korir, said initial reports indicate that a team of more than 100 armed gunmen stopped the Nairobi-bound bus and ordered everyone out at around 5:30 a.m. local time.
"We are told the 100 armed men stopped the bus just after it left Arabia area and all the passengers were asked to come down and divided into two groups of Somalis and non Somali," Korir told Xinhua, adding that the non Somali group was sprayed with bullets.
"We are also told more than 28 have been killed and many others injured, but we are yet to know the exact circumstances, but we are planning to dispatch a team of security personnel to the scene," the government official said.
Mandera County Police Commander Noah Mvivanda said initial reports indicate the attackers were Al-Shabaab from neighboring Somalia. He said the attack occurred at a place near the Kenya-Somalia border.
Mvivanda said the armed militia asked everyone on board to recite the Islamic doctrine and those who failed were shot dead.
"We have talked to two young ladies who managed to escape the tragedy and they said four police officers were among the dead, but we are yet to confirm," said Mvivanda.
The police commander said an aerial surveillance will be conducted over the area before security teams leave for rescue, given the fact that a similar attack late last year at the area was used as a trap in which eight police officers were killed.
Since Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia in 2011, northern and parts of eastern Kenya have been hit by a series of blasts, with many targeting local security forces and humanitarian workers.