Four killed after blast in Kenya


Four people have been killed and 10 more injured after the bus they were travelling in struck a suspected improvised explosive device planted in the road in Mandera County in northern Kenya, close to the border with Somalia, a government official said.

Four of the wounded are in critical condition, government coordinator Nicholas Ndalana told Reuters.

Mandera’s governor Ali Roba confirmed the death toll, while pictures from the scene reveal the roof of the vehicle was torn off by the sheer force of the blast.

The bus was en route from Lafey to Mandera and passing along the Arabia Road, a desert highway, when the explosion took place.

“An attack of a bus took place this morning, sad enough we lost three passengers, the bus was completely damaged by an explosive device that was planted on the ground,” Mr Ndalana said before the casualty rate was revised.

Osman Liban, a resident of Mandera, told the news agency his nephew was among those injured and that his relative had sustained a fractured leg in the explosion.

While it was not immediately clear who was responsible, the area has been targeted by members of neighbouring Somalia’s al-Shabaab Islamist terrorist faction, along with four other counties that border the East African state: Wajir, Garissa, Tana River and Lamu.

The group has attacked security personnel, schools, vehicles, towns and telephone lines nearby with a view to pressuring Kenya into withdrawing its soldiers from Somalia, stationed there since 2011 and part of a 20,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force in place.

Al-Shabaab has fought for over a decade to destabilise Somalia’s government in the interests of assuming power and imposing strict Islamic sharia law on the populace.

Governor Roba said his county was under growing threat from the extremists, who, he said, control 50 per cent of the roads and 60 per cent of its territory overall, forcing the closure of many schools.

Kenya Defence Forces thwarted an al-Shabaab attack on a border patrol camp in Sheikh Barrow on Sunday, according to The Star, after coming under fire from rocket-propelled grenades.

A similar attack took place in Elram near Elwak, also in Mandera, on 10 March.

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