The militants who tried to attack a bus in northern Kenya last week belong to Islamic State, according to Kenyan police chief Joseph Boinnet.
Last week, Kenya made international headlines with the news that Muslim bus passengers protected Christian passengers from imminent slaughter, after Islamic militants attempted to ambush their bus.
Last November, 28 Kenyans who were identified as non-Muslim were killed by Al-Shabab during a bus attack in Mandera County, located along the northern border Kenya shares with Somalia.
But this Sunday, militants wouldn’t enjoy a repeat of their divisive efforts.
Chief Administrator of the Northeastern region Mohamud Saleh told Al Jazeera, “The attackers tried to wave the bus down but then sprayed it with bullets when the driver refused to stop.”
Once the bus stopped between Kutulo and Daba village in Mandera County, the gunmen reportedly told the more than 50 passengers to identify themselves if they are Muslim.
However, the Muslims reportedly told the militants “to kill them together or leave them alone,” Mandera Governor Al Roba said.
And after an investigation, Boinnet says authorities have discovered that the foiled bus attack was orchestrated by IS.
The Islamic State is reportedly attempting to “gain a foothold in East Africa.”
Just this October, Al-Shabab recruiter and spiritual leader Sheikh Abdulqadir Mumi (pictured) pledged allegiance to IS, causing followers to have to reportedly choose between two terrorist organizations since Al-Shabab was originally loyal to al-Qaeda.
Duplicating Efforts in West Africa
Nigeria’s infamous Boko Haram joined IS in March as the newly coined “West African Province.”
However, even before Boko Haram went public with their IS affiliation, there was speculation that the two groups were working together due to Boko Haram’s increasingly polished Twitter presence, which mirrored IS’, and its seemingly endless supply of arms.
Back in Kenya, Boinnet advised Kenyans during his New Year’s message to be wary of a number of public venues that could be “soft targets” for the terrorists.
“Shopping malls, entertainment spots, restaurants and places of worship…are potential soft targets,” Boinnet said.
Since 2013, Al-Shabab has attacked Kenyans five times, killing at least 327 people in total.