NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Seven people were killed when gunmen attacked a bus at the Kenyan coast where previous attacks had left 87 people dead, Kenya Red Cross said Saturday.
The attack Friday night occurred in an area called Corner Mbaya, which is 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the coastal town of Witu in Lamu county, the humanitarian group said. Authorities believe many of the passengers who were on the 52-seat bus traveling from Mombasa to Lamu town, fled into a nearby forest.
Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants from Somalia claimed responsibility for the attack.
Police chief David Kimaiyo issued a dusk to dawn curfew for Lamu County and declared the Boni forests and adjoining forests prohibited. The areas are believed to be the gunmens' hideout. Those found in the forests will be arrested, Kimaiyo said. He ordered buses to travel with armed escorts.
Police officers engaged in a shootout with the gunmen attacking the bus, leading to the deaths of three police officers and four civilians, Kimaiyo said. Three civilians and one police officer were wounded in the gunfight, he said.
According to Lamu County Commissioner Miiri Njenga, gunmen used a stolen saloon car to block the road to stop the bus.
Patricia Mbuvi, who was traveling in the bus, was injured from broken glass. She said the gunmen wore masks and outfits that looked like police uniforms, and started shooting at the bus when it stopped.
Al-Shabab said the attackers were sending a message to Kenya that they cannot stop the group's operations in coastal areas.
"The attack was carried out in response to the Kenyan government's claim that all the areas that have recently been subject for attacks were secured after having deployed troops," the group said.
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