Islamic Shebab extremists ambushed a bus in Kenya before executing 28 non-Muslims at point-blank range in a revenge attack for police raids on mosques in the troubled city of Mombasa.
The heavily-armed gunmen ambushed the bus early yesterday as it headed for Nairobi from Mandera, a town that lies on the border with Somalia.
According to AFP, the extremists reportedly separated the Muslims from the 28 victims by forcing them to read versus from the Koran. Those that failed were shot in the head at point-blank range.
The death toll – which included 19 men and nine women – was confirmed by Kenya’s Red Cross, which said it was attempting to retrieve the victims’ bodies from the scene.
Regional police chief Noah Mwavinda also told AFP.
‘I can confirm… that 28 innocent travellers were brutally executed by the Shebab.Some 60 passengers were on
board the bus when it was seized by the gunmen.
Gunmen waved down the bus before spraying it with bullets when it did not stop. They then shot a rocket-propelled grenade at the vehicle, before commandeering the bus off the road .
They ordered the passengers to get off the vehicle before separating the travellers into Muslims and non-Muslims.
One of the passengers on the bus, Ahmed Mahat, told the BBC
The driver tried to accelerate away, but the vehicle became stuck in mud caused by recent heavy rains.About 10 heavily-armed men speaking Somali ordered the passengers off the bus.
“When we got down, passengers were separated according to Somali and non-Somalis,”
“The non-Somalis were ordered to read some verses of the holy Koran, and those who failed to read were ordered to lie down. One by one they were shot in the head at point blank range.”Some Somalis were shot after pleading with the gunmen to spare non-Somali passengers, Mr Mahat added.
The attack comes after a week after Security forces raided mosques in the city, saying they were being used to store weapons. The raids triggered apparent revenge attacks by Muslim youths.
Kenya has experience a series of al-Shabab attacks since it sent troops to Somalia three years ago to help fight the militant group.