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By Joseph Akwiri
MOMBASA Kenya (Reuters) - Gunmen killed at least three people when they ambushed a bus along Kenya's northern coast on Friday, a local official said.
About 100 people have been killed in attacks on Kenya's coast since mid-June. Somali Islamist group al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for many of them but the government has suggested local politicians were also behind them.
The attacks near Lamu, an ancient trading port and tourist resort, have damaged Kenya's tourism industry and heightened volatility in a region where local communities have a history of conflict over land, water and other resources.
Daniel Kahosho, head of Kenya Police Reservists in Mpeketoni in Lamu County, told Reuters the gunmen blocked the bus with their car and then sprayed it with bullets.
"Two lorries which were carrying mangoes were also attacked and three people in total have been killed," he said. "We still don't know how many of the passengers may have been hijacked. The bus is riddled with bullets."
Miiri Njenga, Lamu County commissioner, said attackers hijacked the bus near Witu, a small town about 50 km from Lamu. It had been on way to Lamu from the tourist resort of Malindi, some 220 km further south.
Hundreds of families have fled the area despite government assurances that the attacks will soon end. Kenya has drafted its army to help fight the attackers who are believed to be hiding in forests around Lamu County.
(Writing by Drazen Jorgic, Editing by Angus MacSwan)