Kenya bus attack: Somali Islamist militant group kills 28 in bus hijackhttps://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-others/al-shabaab-kill-28-bus-passengers-in-kenya/

Kenya bus attack: Somali Islamist militant group kills 28 in bus hijack

Order non-Muslims to get off, open fire in retaliation for police raids on mosques

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 file photo, hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area some 18 km south of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Suspected Islamic extremists from Somalia hijacked a bus at dawn near Mandera in Kenya's north near the border with Somalia, and killed 28 non-Muslims on board after they had been singled out from the rest of the passengers, police officials said Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. (Source:AP)
FILE – In this Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 file photo, hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area some 18 km south of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Suspected Islamic extremists from Somalia hijacked a bus at dawn near Mandera in Kenya’s north near the border with Somalia, and killed 28 non-Muslims on board after they had been singled out from the rest of the passengers, police officials said Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. (Source:AP)

The Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab said it had staged an attack in Kenya Saturday in which gunmen ordered non-Muslims off a bus and shot 28 dead, while sparing Muslim passengers.

Three of the group led out to be killed saved their lives by reciting verses of the Koran for the militants, a local security official said.

Al Shabaab said its men had ambushed the Nairobi-bound bus outside the town of Mandera, near Kenya’s border with Somalia and Ethiopia, and killed the non-Muslims in retaliation for raids on mosques in the city of Mombasa.

Kenyan security forces examine the scene, as bodies of some of the victims lie in a line on the ground, at the location of an attack on a bus about 50 kilometers (31 miles) outside the town of Mandera, near the Somali border in northeastern Kenya, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, attacked the bus in northern Kenya at dawn on Saturday, singling out and killing 28 passengers who could not recite an Islamic creed and were assumed to be non-Muslims, Kenyan police said. (Source: AP Photo)
Kenyan security forces examine the scene, as bodies of some of the victims lie in a line on the ground, at the location of an attack on a bus about 50 kilometers (31 miles) outside the town of Mandera, near the Somali border in northeastern Kenya, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, attacked the bus in northern Kenya at dawn on Saturday, singling out and killing 28 passengers who could not recite an Islamic creed and were assumed to be non-Muslims, Kenyan police said. (Source: AP Photo)

On Monday, police in the port city shot dead one man and arrested almost 400 others when they raided four mosques that they said were being used to recruit militants and stash weapons.

“The Mujahideen successfully carried out an operation near Mandera early this morning, which resulted in 28 crusaders perishing, as revenge for the crimes committed by the Kenyan crusaders against our Muslim brethren in Mombasa,” Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, al Shabaab’s spokesman, said in a statement.

Many Islamist militants use the term “crusaders” to describe Christians or non-Muslims in general.

Kenyan security forces examine the scene, as bodies of some of the victims lie in a line on the ground, at the location of an attack on a bus about 50 kilometers (31 miles) outside the town of Mandera, near the Somali border in northeastern Kenya, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, attacked the bus in northern Kenya at dawn on Saturday, singling out and killing 28 passengers who could not recite an Islamic creed and were assumed to be non-Muslims, Kenyan police said. (Source: AP Photo)
Kenyan security forces examine the scene, as bodies of some of the victims lie in a line on the ground, at the location of an attack on a bus about 50 kilometers (31 miles) outside the town of Mandera, near the Somali border in northeastern Kenya, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, attacked the bus in northern Kenya at dawn on Saturday, singling out and killing 28 passengers who could not recite an Islamic creed and were assumed to be non-Muslims, Kenyan police said. (Source: AP Photo)

Police Inspector General David Kimaiyo said 19 men and nine women had been killed. “Preliminary reports indicate that the attackers, who were heavily armed, later fled towards the border into Somali,” he told reporters.

A witness, who asked not to be identified, said the attackers had boarded the bus and tried to identify Muslims and non-Muslims.

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Ahmed Maalim, an official at the Mandera East sub-county security force, said the attackers had ordered passengers thought to be non-Muslims out of the bus. Three were spared after reciting Koranic verses and ordered back on the bus.