NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's deputy president Sunday denounced the killing of 28 bus passengers by Islamic extremists and said the nation's military responded by killing more than 100 militants in Somalia.
William Ruto, speaking on a national broadcast, said Kenya is a target of international terrorist groups, including Somalia's al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida. He said Kenya's security forces will protect citizens, including by raiding mosques.
"Our message to them is clear; you may sneak and attack innocent civilians. But for any attack on Kenya and its people, we shall pursue you wherever you go," Ruto said.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is in Abu Dhabi on an official visit.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the bus attack, in which non-Muslims were singled out and killed Saturday. The Somali rebels said the attack was in retaliation for the closure of four mosques on the Kenyan coast by Kenyan authorities last week.
Ruto defended the raids on the mosques, saying the houses of worship had been converted into armories and centers for plotting terrorism.
"Any place of worship that wilfully hosts terror platforms disqualifies itself from the sanctity of a place of worship," he said.
Kenyan authorities said they found explosives and a pistol when they searched the mosques.
The bodies of those killed in Saturday's attack were flown to Nairobi, the capital, where government pathologists are expected to conduct post-mortems this week.
Grieving relatives and friends of the deceased gathered at the mortuary Sunday to identify the dead, some whom had been shot in the head.
Civil society activists said they will organize protests against the heightened insecurity in Kenya.
Kenya has been hit by a wave of gun and explosive attacks since it sent troops to Somalia in Oct 2011 to fight al-Shabab militants, who the Kenyan government blamed for cross-border attacks. Authorities say there have been at least 136 extremist attacks since 2011.
Associated Press TV Producer Khaled Kazziha contributed to this report.