NAIROBI, Kenya – A roadside bomb in Kenya's southern coastal area killed four policemen and four children Tuesday, a senior Kenyan police official said.
The explosion took place in Kiunga town, said Noah Mwivanda, a senior police officer in Lamu County.
This incident increases to 46 the death toll from homemade explosives planted by suspected al-Shabab extremists from Somalia in the last three months. The majority of fatalities have been policemen. Al-Shabab, al-Qaida's affiliate in East Africa, has carried out more than 100 attacks on Kenya since 2011. It says the attacks are retribution for Kenya sending troops to Somalia to fight the insurgents.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is campaigning for re-election in August, did not immediately comment on the latest explosion. On Monday Kenyatta said if re-elected he would "strengthen the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit by acquiring more specialized vehicles to counter and deter the security threats emerging from terrorist groups."
Areas of Lamu and Mandera counties, near Kenya's border with Somalia, have been hardest hit by al-Shabab attacks in recent years.
Kenya has managed to stop the frequency of al-Shabab attacks in its capital, Nairobi, and major towns, but human rights groups say the government uses methods such as extrajudicial killings that can fuel revenge attacks.
Analysts have said the increased use of homemade bombs may mean more al-Shabab men have acquired the skills to assemble explosive devices.