Terror group claims to kill 7, capture others in Kenyan police raid

Story highlights

  • Al-Shabaab says "elite" members struck a Kenyan police camp near the Somali border
  • The Kenyan police have not responded to requests for comment
  • The U.S. classifies the al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab organization as a terrorist group
  • The Red Cross halts aid shipments in Somalia, where Al-Shabaab is based
Al-Shabaab members raided a Kenyan police camp, killing seven and taking others prisoner, the al Qaeda-linked militant Islamist group said Thursday.
Kenyan police officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the reported attack.
But in a statement posted on its website, Al-Shabaab offered details about the Wednesday raid, which comes amid ongoing violence between the group and Kenyan authorities.
"Elite" members of the militant group launched their "surprise" attack on a Kenyan police camp in Gerille, which is in Wajir district near the Somali border, shortly after 7:15 p.m., Al-Shabaab said.
Seven police and government officials were "immediately killed, while others were taken prisoner," according to the group.
Al-Shabaab also said that its members captured Kenyan government vehicles, communication equipment and "a cache of weapons."
Kenya has blamed abductions of tourists and aid workers on Al-Shabaab, which the U.S. government classifies as a terrorist group. The violence has been particularly pronounced in eastern Kenya near Somalia, where the Islamist militant organization is based.
Last Saturday, Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement that "we believe that terrorists may be in the final stages of planning attacks" in Kenya.
U.S. Embassy officials in Kenya issued their own terror alerts in October and November, saying they had credible information of an imminent terror attack.
The U.S. warning came after Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia to pursue Islamist Al-Shabaab militants. The terrorist group has threatened Kenya with retaliatory attacks, saying it considers the forces' incursion an affront to Somalia's sovereignty.
On Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced it had temporarily suspended the distribution of humanitarian aid for 1.1 million people in "urgent need" in Somalia due to security concerns.
The international non-profit said its decision came after "food and seed relief" assistance was "blocked in parts of central and southern Somalia." Patrick Vial, the top Red Cross official in the country, did not specify which group was responsible for the obstructions, though he did urge "local authorities to restore conditions that will allow the resumption of the suspended activities as soon as possible."
"The suspension will continue until we receive assurances from the authorities controlling those areas that distributions can take place unimpeded and reach all those in need, as previously agreed," Vial said.