Twelve Christians Reportedly Killed In Al-Shabaab Kenya Attack

Kenya Defence Force soldiers at the site of a previous al-Shabaab attack in Garissa.Reuters

Twelve people have been killed at a hotel in north-east Kenya in an attack reportedly carried out by the Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab.

World Watch Monitor (WWM) said that local media outlets "sympathetic" to the terrorist group reported that the militants "killed Christian Kenyans" who were not from the local area.

The BBC also reported that, "It is the latest in a spate of deadly attacks targeting Christians in the mainly Muslim region."

Police in the town of Mandera, which lies on the border with Somalia, said the attackers used improvised explosives devices to break down the metallic doors of the Bishaaro Hotel, before entering and shooting 12 people dead in their rooms, WWM reported.

According to the Daily Nation newspaper, local authorities said that 10 of those killed arrived in Mandera on Monday to stage plays for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam candidates.

Earlier this month, WWM reported that militants shot dead six people in a night-time attack which the group said was aimed at forcing Christians to leave the area.

The attack took place at a gated residential building, many of whose 33 residents had moved to Mandera for work, WWM said.

WWM added that it is not clear how many of the dead were Christians. Al-Shabaab's own radio station claimed at the time it had "killed six Christians".

"We are behind the Mandera attack in which we killed six Christians," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operations spokesman, told Reuters.

According to local reports, heavily armed gunmen broke into the residential area around 2.45am, and began firing randomly.

Mandera, on the Somali border, has often been targeted by al Shabaab, which says it will continue its campaign of attacks in Kenya until the Kenyan government withdraws its troops from Somalia where they are part of an African force.

Repeated in attacks in Kenya by al Shabaab have killed hundreds of people in the past three years or so and hammered the country's vital tourism industry.

The assaults have often been in the northeast, near the long and porous border with Somalia, but the group has also struck coastal areas popular with tourists and the capital Nairobi, where al Shabaab gunman attacked Westgate shopping mall in 2013.

In April last year, more than 150 people, mostly students, died when al Shabaab militants attacked Garissa University in north-eastern Kenya. Survivors spoke of merciless executions by the attackers, who stalked classrooms and dormitories hunting for non-Muslim students.

Witnesses reported that gunmen singled out Christians for point-blank executions during a 13-hour killing spree. Some survivors were forced to pretend they were dead by covering themselves in blood.