Four people have been killed in Mandera after a vehicle they were travelling in was hit by a roadside bomb.
Confirming the incident, Mandera South Deputy County Commissioner Tobias Otunga said the incident occurred at Qurqura area along the Mandera-Elwak road.
"At about 11am, we received reports that a matatu coming from Mandera towards Elwak was hit by an explosive device. Four passengers have since died and nine others are being treated at Elwak Sub County Hospital," Mr Otunga said by phone.
The sub-county security boss said a combined security operation had since been launched to hunt for the attackers.
"We suspect the explosives were planted by the Alshabaab militants to target the security vehicle and other road users. Our officers are combing the area," he said.
A reliable source said the attack on the matatu could be a case of mistaken identity by the attackers.
"This is a mistaken target by the attackers. The vehicle is white, just like those used by our Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) in the field. The target was the security officers who were supposed to use the same route but were late," our source said.
This is the second such incident this month.
On 3 September, two police officers were killed after their vehicle was hit by an explosive as they were travelling from Arabia to Mandera.
The officers were rushing to hitch a lift to another police vehicle travelling to Nairobi.
The officers were on leave when they were blown up.