Three Kenyan police shot dead near Somali border 12 Jan 12, 2012 - 12:34:11 AM
NAIROBI, Kenya 12, Jan .2012 (AFP)—
Gunmen killed three Kenyan police and wounded two others in the latest of a string of attacks in the northeastern border region with war-torn Somalia, police said Thursday.
"The attack occurred at a camp in Gerille in Wajir on Wednesday night and we lost three officers, two others were injured," a senior police officer in the region, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
"There are others who have not been accounted for," he said, adding that the attackers had used firearms and thrown an explosive device.
The strike took place some 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Kenya's border with Somalia, an area hit by a series of blasts in the three months since Nairobi sent troops into Somalia to fight Islamist Shebab insurgents there.
Hand grenades have been thrown into bars and a church, while homemade explosive devices have been set off, many targeting security forces.
Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe confirmed the attack but said he had not yet "received the full details."
No group claimed responsibility, but Kenyan officials have repeatedly blamed Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked Shebab or their sympathisers for previous bombings and shootings, although armed bandits also operate in border areas.
However, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned Thursday that Kenyan security forces are abusing civilians and Somali refugees in northeastern regions following the spate of attacks since October.
The most recent incident observed by the New York-based rights group was the January 11 rounding up and beating of a group of residents of Garissa, the capital of North Eastern Province, in a local military camp.
"When military officers can beat civilians in broad daylight without fearing repercussions, it's clear that impunity has become the norm," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at HRW, in a statement released Thursday.
"Repeated promises by both the police and the military to stop these abuses and investigate have amounted to nothing."
Kenyan army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir told HRW that he did not have knowledge of any abuses, but that that the military would investigate the allegations.
Recent attacks by gunmen have also taken place in Dadaab, the world's largest refugee camp about 100 kilometres south of Wednesday's attack, which houses some 460,000 Somalis who have fled famine and war over two decades.
Gunmen seized two Spaniards working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) from Dadaab in October and are thought to have taken them to Somalia.
The kidnapping of the Spaniards was one of the incidents that spurred Kenya to send troops to fight the hardline Shebab.
Regional armies are now pushing against Shebab positions in Somalia, with Kenyan forces in the far south, Ethiopian soldiers in the west and African Union forces in Mogadishu made up of troops from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti.