Al-Shabab kills 12 in Kenyan hotel near Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya,  Kenyan officials on Tuesday said an attack on a hotel by the al-Shabab militant Islamist group near Kenya’s northeast border with Somalia killed at least 12 people and wounded four others.

On Tuesday, al-Shabab carried out an attack in Kenya’s Mandera County near the country’s border with Somalia, killing at least 12 people. In this image, members of the Kenya Defense Forces deliver aid as part of a convoy traveling to Bukobba, Tanzania, after an earthquake. Photo courtesy of Kenya Defense Forces

The Bisharo Guest House in Kenya’s Mandera County was attacked overnight by militants who threw grenades and improvised explosive devices. Al-Shabab took responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted “Christian workers.”

The building targeted in the attack was hosting members of a traveling university theater group that was in town to perform plays in local schools.”It is true there was an attack. Rescue efforts are ongoing,” Mandera County Cmdr. Job Boronjo said, VoA News reports.

Al Jazeera reports the incident occurred at 2:30 a.m. local time. Several loud explosions and gunshots were heard. A manhunt for the suspects is underway by counterterrorism police units using tracking dogs

CNN reports all of those killed in the attack were foreigners.

Al-Shabab imposes strict Islamic law in the areas it controls within Somalia and frequently carries out attacks, including the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack in Kenya in which at least 67 people were killed. Security in Mogadishu has improved since al-Shabab lost control of the capital in 2011.

Al-Shabab took responsibility of the Garissa University College attack in Kenya. On April 2, 2015, masked gunmen, belonging to the Somali militant group, stormed the university and engaged police and military forces in a daylong siege. At least 148 people were killed.

By Andrew V. Pestano