NAIROBI (Reuters) – Unidentified gunmen abducted two Cuban doctors and shot dead a police officer near Kenya’s border with Somalia, television broadcaster KTN News and the Daily Nation newspaper reported on Friday.
The Daily Nation said the attackers drove off with the doctors, who are employed by the Kenyan government, after the shooting in Mandera in the north-east of the country.
KTN News said police suspected the doctors and their abductors, thought to be members of the Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group, had gone into Somalia.
Kenyan Citizen television footage showed police officers setting up a roadblock on a road leading to the border.
Mandera has been the scene of frequent attacks in which dozens of civilians and security personnel have been killed. Al Shabaab have taken responsibility for most of them.
In November, gunmen wounded five people including two children and kidnapped an Italian charity worker in Chakama, a small town near the Kenyan coast and south of the Somali border. The fate of the Italian woman is unknown.
Al Shabaab are fighting to topple Somalia’s central government and establish their own rule based on their strict interpretation of Islamic law.
The group also conducts frequent assaults in Kenya, mostly in the region bordering Somalia, to put pressure on the Kenyan government to withdraw its troops from Somalia.
On Tuesday, the U.S. embassy upgraded its travel warning for Kenya, listing “do not travel” for Mandera county.
“Exercise increased caution in Kenya due to crime, terrorism and kidnapping,” the warning read.
Reporting by George Obulutsa and Omar Mohammed; Editing by Giles Elgood and Catherine Evans