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Police Officers Among 8 Killed in Jihadist Bus Attack in Kenya

Police Officers Among 8 Killed in Jihadist Bus Attack in Kenya

Nairobi: Several police officers were among at least eight people killed in an attack on a bus in northeast Kenya believed to have been staged by the Somali Islamist Shebaab group, a presidential spokesperson said Saturday.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had been briefed on the "brutal" murders of eight people, including police, during the jihadist attack in Wajir county, the spokesperson said in a statement.

"We lost seven police officers in the bus attack," a senior police source told AFP. "The total number of the people killed are 10. One was identified as a local doctor."

A police statement released Friday evening gave no casualty toll, just noting the bus, which linked the towns of Wajir and Mandera, came under attack about 17:30 local time (1430 GMT).

"Security forces are pursuing the killers," the state house spokesperson said, adding, "the government will not relent in its ruthless crackdown on criminal elements including suspected terrorists".

The area where the attack took place borders Somalia, which is regularly the scene of Shebaab raids.

On June 15, at least eight police officers were killed in similar circumstances in Wajir county.

Homemade weapons and bombs have been used to kill dozens of police and soldiers in the northern and eastern border regions, where such attacks are relatively common.

The Al-Qaeda affiliate Shebaab has been fighting for more than a decade to overthrow successive internationally-backed Somali governments and has previously resorted to direct attacks on road vehicles.

A regional peacekeeping force in Somalia, AMISOM, which chased Shebaab out of the Somali capital Mogadishu in 2011, includes troops from a number of African nations including Kenya, making police and troops from the country a target for the jihadists.