NEW: 1 officer died while being evacuated, police say
Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attack police in Kenya's Garissa County
Attack comes weeks after students were slaughtered at a Garissa college
Suspected Islamist gunmen attacked Kenyan national police Monday evening in the same county where students were slaughtered in a university attack last month, leading to a intense gunbattle that left at one officer dead and four others injured, authorities said.
Police officers were looking for Al-Shabaab militants in eastern Garissa County when gunmen attacked them on Monday evening, said James Kianda, acting county commissioner.
Police reinforcements responded and fought with the attackers, believed to be with Al-Shabaab. In the ensuing battle, five officers were injured, the national police service said.
One of the officers died while being evacuated; the other four were airlifted to the country’s capital, Nairobi, for medical care, police said.
National police and the Kenyan military were conducting an operation against the attackers on Tuesday, the national police said.
The initial group of police officers was patrolling the county’s Fafi and Yumbis areas, acting on the belief that Al-Shabaab fighters were hiding nearby, Kianda said.
Monday’s incident came more than seven weeks after Al-Shabaab terrorists stormed a college in eastern Kenya’s Garissa city and killed 147 people.
In that incident, according to Agence France-Presse, the terrorists separated students by religion – allowing Muslims to leave and killing Christians
Of those killed at Garissa University College on April 2, 142 were students at the university, and the rest were security forces and campus security.
CNN’s Lilian Leposo reported from Nairobi, Kenya. CNN’s Jason Hanna wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Robyn Kriel contributed to this report.