Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Two people were killed Saturday in an attack on a convoy of buses travelling in eastern Kenya under police protection, said interior ministry and police officials, who blamed Shabaab Islamists.
The buses and police vehicles were travelling from Lamu on the northern Kenyan coast near Somalia to Mombasa in the south.
Attackers struck at 11:00 am (0800 GMT), leaving one police officer and one civilian dead.
The area where the attack took place has been struck frequently in recent years by Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab militants.
“There was an exchange of fire between the security team that was escorting the buses and the attackers during which one civilian was shot dead and some police officers suffered injuries,” interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said in a statement.
The assault was carried out by “a gang of suspected Al Shabaab terrorists”, he added.
A high-ranking police official told AFP that an officer was also killed, and that the civilian victim had been travelling in a police vehicle.
Regional police chief Larry Kieng said a group of Shabaab militants fired rocket launchers at two police vehicles escorting the buses, causing them to go up in flames.
The Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu but also regularly carries out attacks in neighbouring Kenya, which has troops in Somalia as part of an African Union force.
In its bloodiest single attack on Kenya so far, Shabaab gunmen raided a university in Garissa in April 2015 killing 148 people, most of them students, while in 2013 the group killed at least 67 people in an assault on a shopping mall in Nairobi.