Four police officers including three from the administration police unit are among five people confirmed dead in the latest attack on Tahmeed bus in Witu, Lamu County, on Friday, officials said.
The driver of the bus was also killed in the attack where gunmen driving in a Toyota probox blocked the bus that was heading to Lamu from Malindi and sprayed it with bullets.
Eight other people are admitted at the Mpeketoni hospital, most with bullets wounds, witnesses at the hospital told Baraka FM.
Reports indicated two passengers from the ill fated bus were also killed, to bring the number of dead to seven, but Miiri Njenga, Lamu County commissioner, said they had not confirmed that.
In an interview with Reuters news agency, the al shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
“We are behind the attack near Witu – we killed five people and injured eight others,” sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al shabaab’s military operations spokesman, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“The attack was in response to Kenya’s claim that it deployed more troops in the coast and thus tightened security. Kenya also lied by saying it destroyed Al shabaab bases there – it is propaganda” the spokesman told Reuters.
Dozens of family members and friends of the passengers who were in the bus flocked the bus company’s booking offices in Witu to establish the fate of their loved ones.
The attack occurred at around 6:30pm at Kona Mbaya area near Mambo Sasa forest, and attackers are said to have fled into the forest after their raid.
Earlier this week police said the military had bombed and destroyed at least four hideouts in Boni forest where the attackers were believed to be hiding.