NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Islamic militants attacked a governor's convoy in north Kenya on Friday for the second time in five months, killing three people, a police official said.
Five others are in critical condition following the attack on Mandera governor Ali Roba's convoy about 27 kilometers from the town, the official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak with the press, said about 20 attackers shot at the convoy with rifles and rocket propelled grenades.
Two vehicles were burned in the attack and a third vehicle was hijacked and driven off toward the Somali border, the official said. Two police officers were burned beyond recognition, and a politician was killed, he said. Five civilians were wounded by bullets. Roba was safely evacuated, the official said.
Somalia's al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the attack through their radio station.
In October, Roba's convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device as he was being driven to work, injuring one of his guards, police said.
Friday's attack comes two days after a new police chief was sworn into office. His predecessor resigned following an attack in Mandera last year that killed 36 people.
Al-Shabab, an Islamic extremist group, has vowed to inflict violent attacks on Kenya because it has contributed troops to the African Union force supporting the western-backed government in Somalia.
In November, al-Shabab fighters hijacked a bus near Mandera, singled out non-Muslims and non-Somalis, and shot dead 28 passengers. Twenty-two of those killed were teachers. Ten days later al-Shabab massacred 36 quarry workers who were non-Muslims.
Hundreds of teachers in parts of northern Kenya that borders Somalia have refused to return to work, fearing attacks by the Islamic extremists despite government reassurance of increased security.
Associated Press writer Abdi Guled contributed this report from Mogadishu, Somalia.