A Moyale Raha bus headed to Nairobi from Mandera was Wednesday attacked by suspected Al-Shabaab militants.
At least three passengers were killed in the attack which occurred at Sarman area in Mandera North County.
The management of Moyale Raha bus company said the vehicle left Mandera town in the morning and was sprayed with bullets while on its way to Nairobi.
"We are told the gunmen shot at the tyres but the driver sped off only to get into more gunfire ahead," said a source at the offices of the bus company.
A survivor only identified as Mohamed said two people in police uniform stopped the bus but the driver ignored them.
Mohamed said more gunmen jumped from the bush and sprayed the bus with bullets.
Security agencies in Mandera were active Wednesday searching for the assailants.
“We have launched investigations to know who exactly the perpetrators are in this incident,” said Mandera County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha.
Mr Kyatha said the local community could be harboring armed criminals who are reining terror.
The Wednesday bus attack is the second terror incident in Mandera North this year. On January 10, suspected militants attempted to raid Olla Police Post in Mandera North but were repulsed.
“This incident does not mean armed criminals suspected to be Al-Shabaab militants are taking charge of Mandera North Sub-County. We are in full control and very much on the ground,” said Mr Kyatha.
The Mandera-Rhamu-Banisa-Takaba-Moyale route has been the road of choice for people travelling in and out of Mandera after the militants outsmarted government on the Mandera-Rhamu-Elwak-Wajir route.
“I am shocked with what is happening on the road that I thought was safer for the travelers. Our government has to do all it can to ensure this road is safe,” said Elizabeth Wangui, a businesswoman in Mandera.
While appealing to the local population to cooperate with the security agencies in fighting terrorism, Mr Kyatha denied that the government was caught unawares.
Mandera Governor Ali Roba described terror as evil that needed to be fought by all to enable the county to move on.
“For the last seven years we have suffered a lot as a result of terrorism and radicalization. The challenges of terror have created alienation of our region,” he said.
He said thousands of school going children have suffered mass failures due to lack of teachers and that the county has recorded negative private sector investment to generate employment opportunities for our youth.
Additionally, counties from the northern frontier region wants the National government to upscale its efforts in combating violent extremism that has over the years been orchestrated by the Al-Shabaab.
Leaders from 12 counties yesterday met to kick-started a process of formulating their own legal framework policy that will precipitate efforts of countering terror attacks.
Mr Abdirashid Hussein who is in-charge of peace, security and counter violent extremism in Garissa County said militia group have set up 40 camps on the Kenya-Somali border.
"We have 40 camps within the proximity of Kenya-Somali boarder where the Al Shabaab launches its attack to Kenya. The government should demolish those camps which are only 40 kilometers from the boarder," Mr Hussein told the media during the meeting at a Nanyuki hotel.
Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) vice chairperson Amina Challa said that, once completed, the new policy will help both the national and county governments in eradicating terror attacks and radicalism.