A man was shot and killed by Kenyan police outside the US embassy in the capital Nairobi on Thursday after stabbing an officer with a knife.
“The man was shot after stabbing a GSU officer in the hand and left him with injuries,” said local police chief Vitalis Otieno.
The police officer involved in the shooting was a member of the paramilitary General Services Unit (GSU) deployed to guard the embassy. He was said to be “in good condition” in hospital.
Otieno said the dead man was a 24-year-old Kenyan from Wajir in the country’s north-east close to the border with Somalia, but did not give a name.
According to police the man had been walking towards the US embassy and was close to the public entrance to the visa section when he attempted to grab a gun from one of the officers.
A scuffle ensued during which the man reportedly pulled out a knife and stabbed one officer before being shot in the head by another.
A photograph shared on social media showed the body of a man of apparently Somali ethnicity lying on the pavement, a pool of blood staining the tarmac by his head, and surrounded by police officers.
Five US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers were also present at the scene alongside around a dozen Kenyan officers.
Soon after the incident the busy road was opened to traffic which drove slowly by the body still lying prone on the ground.
A statement from the US embassy confirmed the “shooting incident”, adding that “no embassy personnel were involved.”
The well-guarded US embassy in Nairobi is located opposite the main UN complex in Gigiri, an upmarket suburb in the city’s north popular with expatriates.
Additional UN security staff were deployed along the road, called UN Avenue, after the incident.
The motive for the man’s actions remains unknown with police saying “investigations are still ongoing”.
“We are investigating to know if there are other accomplices, and if he had been sent by anyone, so that we can get to apprehend them,” Otieno told reporters at the scene.
The US missions in both Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania were hit by near simultaneous car bombings in August 1998.
The twin bombings, claimed by Al-Qaeda, killed a total of 224 people and injured some 5,000 — almost all of them Kenyans and Tanzanians.