A group of unidentified gunmen assaulted a bank in the town of El-Wak in Mandera county on Friday, June 23. Local police officials said that five attackers drove up to the bank and started firing indiscriminately into the building. The gunmen killed two police officers who were guarding the bank’s entrance before shooting civilians in the area. Officials said that additional security forces deployed into the town and chased the attackers, who fled across the border into Somalia.
In a separate incident, a civilian vehicle was damaged after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated while traveling near Qurqura, Mandera county. According to media reports, the driver was unharmed and there was only minor damage to the vehicle.
No group has claimed responsibility for either incident, but Al-Shabaab is suspected of being behind both attacks. Over the past month, IED attacks have killed at least 34 people, including 20 police officers, mostly in Mandera and Garissa counties. Both counties are located along the border with Somalia.
Al-Shabaab regularly carries out attacks in Kenya’s northeast, near the porous border with Somalia where the group is based, as well as coastal areas popular with tourists and the capital Nairobi. The militant group has been effectively at war with the country since Kenyan forces engaged in the international fight against the terrorist group beginning in October 2011. Al-Shabaab, which seeks to topple Somalia's government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Sharia law, says it will continue to attack Kenya until Nairobi withdraws its troops from the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Individuals in Kenya are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities and be particularly cautious when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (government buildings, places of worship, tourist sites, etc.). Due to these and other security concerns, many Western governments advise against travel to a number of regions in the country, including areas bordering Somalia (parts of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, and Lamu counties), Ethiopia, and South Sudan, as well as nonessential travel to the city of Mombasa. Several Nairobi neighborhoods, including Eastleigh and Pangani, are also best avoided.