The Kenyan army said Thursday that it had killed four suspected al-Shabaab fighters in Lamu county close to the Somali border.
The move came in response to a suspected al-Shabaab attack Thursday on a bus traveling from Mombasa that left three people dead and close to a dozen injured when heavily armed men stopped the bus and sprayed it with bullets.
In a statement, the Kenyan military confirmed the deaths of the militants, noting that one was arrested.
Coast province Regional Commissioner John Elungata also confirmed the deaths of the militants in a report to local media, saying the operation came following the bus attack Thursday which led Kenyan troops to pursue the al-Shabaab militants.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bus attack through their main propaganda outlet Radio Andalus, saying they were targeting Christians plying the busy Mombasa-Lamu county highway.
Lamu County in Kenya has witnessed a spate of attacks by Somalia-based al-Qaeda militants due to its close proximity to the Somali border.
Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab militants have long carried out similar bus attacks in Kenya. In December last year, al-Shabaab militants killed eight people in a bus attack in Wajir county.
In November 2014, al-Shabaab militants killed 28 Kenyan teachers traveling by bus in Mandera, a town bordering Wajir, after separating them from Muslim passengers.
On Dec. 2, 2014, 36 Christian quarry workers were killed in Mandera county by militants, prompting the government to heighten security along the border.
In 2018, more than 100 Kenyan police were killed in separate al-Shabaab IED attacks along the porous Kenyan-Somali border.