World Bulletin / News Desk
Fighting erupted late Wednesday some 20kms near the usually sleepy town of Mpeketoni near the Somali border when a convoy of Kenya security personnel was ambushed by suspected Al-Shabaab rebels.
"Gunmen had ambushed a General Service Unity (GSU) patrol vehicle outside Mokowe," a police officer stationed in the area told Anadolu Agency by phone, on condition of anonymity.
Mokowe is a trading center less than 20kms from Mpeketoni.
"But after some fighting the GSU officers managed to contain them. The gunmen fled to the nearby forest," added the officer.
Abdullah Famau, a Mokowe resident, said gunfire had ensued in the area around 8.30pm.
"I heard gunshots for close to thirty minutes," he told AA by phone.
"The gunshots were not very close to our homes. It sounded like they were coming just out of the town," added Famau.
"When the gunshots came to an end we were asked by the police officers in our town to remain indoors. They say it is unsafe," said the resident.
The Somali group Al-Shabaab reportedly claimed the attack.
"We ambushed a convoy of Kenyan soldiers in Mokowe," said a statement attributed to the group and posted on an affiliate website.
"A vehicle was badly damaged and two infidels were killed," it added.
The statement could not be independently verified and Kenyan officials were not immediately available for comment.
At least ten people were killed late Tuesday when rebels attack Poromoko, a village located some 9km from Mpeketoni.
The attack came as Kenya was still recovering from news that at least 53 people had been killed in Sunday night attacks on a local police station and three hotels in Mpeketoni.
Though claimed by Al-Shabaab, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday exonerated the rebel group of the recent attacks, blaming them instead on local politicians and vowing to prosecute security officials for ignoring earlier warnings.
Mpeketoni is a mainly Christian town in the predominantly Muslim county of Lamu.
Most local residents are ethnic Kikuyus, Kenya's largest ethnic group.Last Mod: 19 Haziran 2014, 10:14