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Al-Shabab Takes Responsibility For Killing Dozens In Kenya

Militants opened fire on workers at a quarry in northeast Kenya early Tuesday, leaving at least 36 of them dead.

Reuters reports the attack happened near the border with Somalia, where just a week earlier al-Shabab militants hijacked a bus and killed 28 people. The wire service reports:

" 'The militia separated the Muslims, then ordered the non-Muslims to lie down where they shot them on the head at close range,' Hassan Duba, an elder at a nearby village, said.

"A witness said at least two of the victims were beheaded in the latest in a string of attacks that are piling pressure on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta over national security."

The BBC reports that al-Shabab took responsibility for the attack, saying it was retaliating for "Kenya's occupation of Muslim lands and their ongoing atrocities therein, such as the recent airstrikes on Muslims in Somalia."

The Red Cross, which coordinated the response to the massacre, said victims' remains were being flown to Nairobi.

The Associated Press says the repeated attacks by al-Shabab have taken a toll on the Kenyan government. The police chief resigned, and the interior minister was sacked.

The AP adds:

"Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta named an opposition politician and former army general, Joseph Nkaissery, to replace Interior Minister Ole Lenku.

"Police Chief David Kimaiyo said he resigned for personal reasons.

"Public pressure had been mounting for the two officials to be replaced following a string of extremist attacks, including one 10 days ago in which 28 non-Muslims were dragged out of a bus and shot dead by Islamic extremists."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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