The Somalian Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabaab massacred 28 people in an attack in Kenya on Saturday. Gunmen from the group stopped a bus and ordered all non-Muslims off the bus before executing them.
A group of around 10 gunmen pulled over the bus, which had been bound for the Kenyan capital Nairobi. They separated Somalis and non-Somalis, ordering the non-Somalis to recite verses from the Quran to prove if they were Muslims or not. Three people who were able to recite verses were ordered back onto the bus. Those who could not were killed.
A survivor of the attack, Ahmet Mahat, spoke to the BBC. He said, "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."
He added that some of the Somalis were also shot after pleading with the attackers to spare the non-Muslim passengers.
Later reports revealed that those killed were teachers, police officers and healthcare workers.
The attack took place in Mandera county near the border with Somalia and Ethiopia. The gunmen are believed to have driven over the porous border from Somalia to carry out the attack.
Kenyan Defense Forces immediately launched a counterattack. According to Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku, a base inside Somalia used by the attackers was destroyed using warplanes and helicopters with "many killed." In a statement he said, "I want to confirm that immediately the government swung into action through the KDF and pursued the attackers, and I can categorically confirm that already some offensive action has been taken, and we will continue to make sure we bring to justice those responsible."
Al-Shabaab's spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said in a statement claiming responsibility for the attack: "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."
The word "crusaders" is frequently used by Islamist terrorists as a term to refer to all non-Muslims.
Last week Kenyan authorities had conducted raids on several mosques in Mombasa that were believed to be linked to Al-Shabaab. Three-hundred and fifty people were arrested, and weapons including petrol bombs and hand grenades were seized, along with jihadist literature in raids on different mosques.
Following the raids Kenyan authorities ordered the closure of five of the mosques and deployed armed police to the streets in Mombasa. On Thursday night, a further 13 people were arrested in clashes with police as a group of young Muslim men tried to force their way into one of the mosques.
On Friday, Mombasa police commander Robert Kitur said in a statement: "The mosques remain crime scenes and anyone trying to access risks being shot."
Since 2011, Al-Shabaab has carried out attacks on Kenyan targets. The group claims the attacks are revenge for Kenya's involvement in Somalia, where the Kenyan army has been fighting against Al-Shabaab on behalf of Somalia's beleaguered government. The group is attempting to overthrow the government in Somalia and establish a sharia–based state. Al-Shabaab was responsible for the Westgate shopping mall attack in September 2013 that killed 67 people.
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