Six killed in al-Shabaab attack in north east Kenya

Security forces are struggling to secure the site because of landmines and booby traps

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Six people were killed in an attack by suspected Islamist militants from the Somali group al-Shabaab in north east Kenya on Thursday.

A public works in the town of Bulla, near the Somali border, was attacked at 2.45am while workers were sleeping.

“We have suffered another sad attack,” said Ali Roba, governor of Mandera county, where the incursion took place.

"Out of 33 non locals residing in one plot, six were shot dead and 27 rescued by our security officers manning the sector," Mr Roba told the Daily Nation, a Kenyan newspaper.

"Six lives are too many to lose. We condemn the attack which comes at a time when locals had started enjoying peace."

Mandera is in the extreme north east of the country. There are reports the victims were workers on controversial border fencing with Somalia, but The Independent has not been able to verify this information.

Landmines and booby traps apparently laid by the attackers have been hampering efforts to secure the bodies of the victims.

Kenyan targets have often been attacked by by al Shabaab, which says it will continue attacking the country until the Kenyan government withdraws its troops from Somalia, where they are part of an African Union force.

Mr Roba added: “If not for the quick response by our security forces, we would be talking of many more casualties now. From the nature and style of the attack, it will obviously be al-Shabaab.”

Al-Shabaab has not yet formally claimed responsibility.

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

Most significantly, the militant group's 2015 attack on Garissa University killed 148 people.

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.

Reuters contributed to this report