Militants in northern Kenya have killed at least 12 people at a guest house in northern Kenya. Local authorities suspect the attack was carried out by Islamist militants from Somalia's al-Shabab group.
An overnight attack on the Bishaaro Guest House in Kenya's northern Mandera County killed a dozen people, Kenyan officials and media reported on Tuesday.
"We have found 12 bodies so far after we managed to access the building," one senior police officer told news agency AFP. "We are still combing the area with the help of anti-terrorism police and sniffer dogs in the ongoing search and rescue."
Gunmen first used grenades and improvised explosive devices to break through the guest house's metal doors before opening fire, Mohamed Saleh, Mandera's regional commander said.
The assailants wore Kenyan army uniforms and fled towards Somalia after the attack, Regional Commander Edward Mwamburi told privately-owned Citizen Digital.
Images posted on Twitter of the attack site show the charred exterior of the guest house.
Another police source told AFP that eleven men and one woman were killed in the 3:30 a.m. (0030 UTC) attack. Many were visiting to perform at local school events, Mandera police chief Ezekiel Singoe told the privately-owned "Daily Nation" newspaper.
The Somali-based extremist group al-Shabab is suspected of carrying out the attack and targeting non-Muslims, officials said.
This is the second attack in Mandera County in less than a month. A strike targeting non-ethnic Somalis and non-Muslims at a gated residential building on October 6 killed six people and was claimed by al-Shabab.
The militant group has been seeking retribution on Kenya for sending troops into Somalia since 2011 to fight the extremists who are fighting an insurgency against the Western-backed government.
Al-Shabab has targeted civilians in various parts of Kenya, including an assault on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall in 2013 which killed 67 people.
rs/kl (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)