NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Two quarry workers were shot dead Friday and one was missing in a suspected extremist attack in Kenya's northern county of Mandera, a government official said.
The attack took place in the town of Elwak, Regional Coordinator Mohamud Saleh said. Workers had been asked to leave the site because al-Shabab fighters based in neighboring Somalia had been seen in the area a few days earlier, he said.
It was the third time quarry workers had been targeted by suspected extremists in Mandera in the past two years. The majority of quarry workers in the region are not Muslim, according to officials.
Mandera is next to the Somali border and has been hardest hit in recent years by an al-Shabab campaign to avenge Kenyan troop presence in Somalia since 2011. Kenya's troops are part of the African Union force in Somalia helping the fragile central government counter al-Shabab's insurgency.
Kenya has managed to stop the frequency of attacks in its capital, Nairobi, and major towns. But human rights groups say the government uses methods such as extrajudicial killings that can fuel revenge attacks.
The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab in December 2014 killed 36 non-Muslim quarry workers in Mandera. In July 2015, extremists killed 14 quarry workers.