MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - At least two police officers and a civilian died on Monday when a bomb blew up their vehicle in Kenya’s coastal county of Lamu, police said, and al Shabaab militants said they carried out the attack.
At least four others were wounded in the midday blast that a senior police officer said was caused by an improvised explosive device planted in the middle of the road.
“We arrived and found the vehicle already burnt and three dead. We rescued five officers and three civilians,” area police Chief Chrispus Mutali said.
Al Shabaab, the militant group in neighboring Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We targeted a police convoy near Lamu. The remotely-controlled bomb destroyed one police car and there are casualties and damages,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations, told Reuters.
Mutali said survivors were taken to hospital with serious injuries.
“Five officers have been accounted for. We are trying to establish the whereabouts of the sixth,” Mutali said, adding it was not clear who was behind the attack.
The incident occurred at Bodhai area, a few kilometers from a military camp where 11 al Shabaab militants were killed by Kenyan soldiers last month when they tried to attack the camp.
Lamu has witnessed repeated al Shabaab attacks. Last year gunmen left at least 60 civilians dead in a night rampage through the town of Mpeketoni.
The attacks have hurt tourism, with a report from the Kenya Tourism Board describing 2014 as the worst year ever for the sector.
Reporting by Joseph Akwiri and Feisal Omar in Mogadishu; Editing by Duncan Miriri and Andrew Roche