Suspected Somali Islamist rebels killed at least seven Kenyans in an attack late on Wednesday that targeted a police outpost in northeastern Kenya, the latest in a wave of assaults in the border area, a senior local official and security sources said.
Scores of gunmen threw grenades and other explosives as they stormed the police camp in Gerille, a town near the porous frontier, Regional Commissioner Wenslas Ongayo said. Several people were missing after the evening raid, and believed kidnapped.
“They killed three administration police officers, a police reservist and two civil servants working with the registration department,” Ongayo told Reuters by telephone.
A local councillor and an education official said that a primary school teacher had also been killed in the crossfire.
Kenya has beefed up security along its border with Somalia since it sent troops into the anarchic Horn of Africa country in October to crush the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgents.
Wednesday night’s attack highlights the difficulties they face securing the frontier, days after Britain warned Islamist militants were in the final stages of preparing an attack on sites in Kenya frequented by expatriates and tourists.
A police spokesman could not confirm the death toll and said details of the attack in a remote, arid corner of the country were still emerging.
Explosions and gunfire rang out across Gerille’s dusty wastelands, Ongayo said, before the assailants seized a government vehicle.
A police source in the area said its driver, three local officials and two other people were now missing and presumed kidnapped.