Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said the dawn attack on the Nairobi-bound bus, which was carrying 60 passengers, in the border town of Mandera was in response to the killings and arrests of Muslims in the coastal city of Mombasa, Xinhua reported.
“The Mujahideen successfully carried out an operation near Mandera early this morning, which resulted in the perishing of 28 crusaders, as a revenge for the crimes committed by the Kenyan crusaders against our Muslim brethren in Mombasa,” Rage said in a statement issued hours after the incident.
However, interior cabinet secretary Joseph Ole Lenku dismissed the statement, saying the massacre was carried out by criminals.
Lenku also confirmed that the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) swung into action immediately after the incident and destroyed an Al-Shabaab camp inside Somalia.
“Attackers’ camp has been destroyed by KDF using helicopters and jets, many killed, and the operations continue,” Lenku told journalists in Nairobi.
The incident in northern Kenya is likely to cause panic among the residents of Mandera and its environs which has had not had any peace since Kenyan soldiers launched a cross-border incursion in 2011.
The police said border patrolling will be intensified along the Kenya-Somalia border to prevent the Al Qaeda-linked insurgents, who are fleeing Somalia from entering the country.