Kenyan officials said Saturday a civilian was killed and several policemen wounded when suspected members of the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab attacked a convoy of vehicles.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka says the police vehicles had been escorting buses between Mombasa city and Lamu County and were destroyed in the attack.
Kenya’s government is battling to stop a wave of attacks by al-Shabab fighters who say they are avenging Kenya’s deployment of troops to neighboring Somalia in 2011. Kenyan troops make up part of the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia that bolsters the country’s weak government against al-Shabab’s insurgency.
In the past two years, al-Shabab has focused attacks on Kenyan counties that border Somalia and mainly targeted security agents.
Kenya’s government ordered police to escort vehicles on the Lamu-Mombasa road after an al-Shabab attack last year in which a top ranking government was briefly kidnapped.
Separately, police said youth burned down a Catholic church in Marsabit County in northern Kenya after the arrest of a Muslim cleric accused by the government of radicalization.
In a statement, police said they arrested Guyo Gorsa, who allegedly had been involved in the recruitment of youth into al-Shabab. Police said Guyo’s alleged involvement had been exposed by youth who were arrested while traveling to Somalia to join the extremist group.
Police called it unfortunate that “some sympathizers of the suspect who is opposed to his arrest have resorted to … destroying property including a Catholic church.”