Suspected Al-Shabab Gunmen kill 36 Kenya quarry workers near Mandera


Suspected al-Shabab gunmen on Tuesday morning killed some 36 quarry workers near the northern Kenyan town of Mandera. The attackers reportedly rounded the workers and separated Muslims from non-Muslims before shooting those suspected to be Christians dead.

Witnesses and a local police chief said the victims were caught after midnight, while sleeping in their tents at the quarry in Kormey, 15km from Mandera town - close to the border with Somalia.

Reuters news agency quoted one witness as saying that most of the victims had been shot in the head, and four had been beheaded.

Kenya's Red Cross said on its Twitter feed that security personnel and one of its own teams were on the ground at the site of the attack.

No group has so far responsibility of the attacks.

Escalation in attacks

One person was killed in a bar popular with non-Muslims in a neighbouring district on Monday night. In the attack, in the town of Wajir, the gunmen also injured 12 after reportedly opened fire and throwing grenades.

Last week, Islamist militants from the Somalia-based al-Shabab group killed 28 people in an attack on a bus targeting non-Muslims in the same area.

Religious link?

Mandera borders both Somalia and Ethiopia and is dominated by Somalis, who are largely Muslims.

Many of the quarry workers killed are reported to have come from the south of the country where Christians predominate.

Al-Shabab battling the Kenyan government

Al-Shabab has stepped up its campaign in Kenya since 2011, when Kenya sent troops across the border to help in efforts to dislodge the militants after the Islamists carried out one of the worst attacks on Kenyan soil at Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in 2013.

67 people were killed in that attack.

Many more people have been killed in a series of shooting attacks in Kenya's coastal districts resulting in calls from the Kenyan opposition and some in the governing party for the dismissal of Interior Minister, Joseph Ole Lenku  and police chief, David Kimaiyo.

Photo caption: Suspected al-Shabab gunmen on Tuesday morning killed some 36 quarry workers near the northern Kenyan town of Mandera.