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Bus ambush in northern Kenya kills six

An ambush of two buses in Kenya's far northeast near Somalia has killed six people, according to police. The incident follows assurances by Kenya's interior ministry that the region was "very safe."

Police in Kenya's Mandera country said Friday they were hunting for suspected Islamist gunmen accused of firing on the buses traveling from Nairobi.

Police had found six people shot dead, said police chief Joseph Boinnet, adding that two people had also been injured. It was unclear whether the casualties were civilians or police guards aboard the buses.

The ambush happened at 9:30 a.m. (0630 UTC/GMT) on a road between the towns of Wargadud and Elwak, said Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia.

US warning

On Thursday, the US State Department had issued a warning to American citizens to "avoid travel to the border areas of Kenya because of threats by the terrorist group al-Shabaab."

It declared the areas of Mandera and Elwak as off-limits.

Just before news of the ambush broke Friday, Kenya interior ministry official Karanja Kibicho described the US warning as unfair, saying the "country is very safe."

"The security of the country has been restored," he said.

Deadly responses

Since October 2011, when Kenyan troops were deployed to Somalia, Somali-based al-Shabaab militants have killed hundreds of Kenyans.

The deadliest raid was in November 2014, when gunmen

flagged down a commuter bus

, separated passengers by religion, and executed 28 non-Muslims.

ipj/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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