Suspected members of the Somali militant group al-Shabab have killed at least 28 people in an attack on a bus in northern Kenya, officials say.
The bus was travelling to the capital, Nairobi, when it was stopped in Mandera county, near the Somali border.
After taking it off the road, gunmen separated out those they thought were non-Muslim before killing them, officials said.
Somalia-based al-Shabab has been mounting attacks in Kenya since 2011.
That was the year when Kenya sent troops to Somalia to help fight the Islamist militia. Mandera, a remote area in Kenya’s north east, has been one of the regions affected.
Kenya’s interior ministry said on its Twitter feed that the bus attacked early on Saturday had been carrying 60 passengers.
One official told Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper that assailants had asked passengers to read out verses of the Koran, before executing those who failed.
Kenya’s Red Cross said emergency workers were trying to retrieve bodies from the scene.
Security agencies were “in pursuit of the criminal gang” that carried out the attack, the interior ministry said. It described the assailants as “bandits”.
After the attack, a local official quoted by Kenyan media said the government had failed to answer their pleas for extra security.
“This place has been prone to attacks,” county official Abdullahi Abdirahman, told The Daily Nation. “This is not the first time the government has totally ignored us, and you can now see the how many innocent precious lives have been lost.”
The attack comes after a week of heightened tension in the coastal city of Mombasa, which has suffered a series of al-Shabab attacks.
Security forces raided mosques in the city, saying they were being used to store weapons. The raids triggered apparent revenge attacks by Muslim youths.
In Mandera, there was unrest in June after two clerics accused of belonging to al-Shabab were shot dead. Residents protested that the clerics had no links to the group.
The area has also been affected by communal violence.