At least 11 people have been killed in a new attack on Kenya’s coastal region, officials said on Tuesday, one week after some 60 people died in twin massacres nearby.
Some were hacked to death with knives, others shot andexecuted at close quarters, mirroring tactics used in earlier attacks claimed by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab. The attack took place overnight on a small village near the town of Witu, on the mainland some 50 kilometres west of the tourist island of Lamu.
Lamu County Commissioner Stephen Ikua called it an “unfortunate attack”, the third in the area this month. Five bodies were initially found, Ikua said, but a police source later said that six more bodies were found, taking the toll to 11. Deputy district commissioner Benson Maisori said that some “were killed with knives”, while others “were shot, executed at very close range.” Several people were reported to have been wounded in the attack and taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, local councillor Athaman Badi said.
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There was no immediate claims of responsiblity. “We have sent our officers to the ground to get more details… they are on the ground pursuing the attackers,” Ikua added. The village is reported to be a mix of Kenyan ethnic groups. Attacks last week on the nearby coastal Mpeketoni district left at least 60 dead.
“The style of the attack is very similar to that at Mpeketoni, it seems like it is the same men,” Maisori said. The flare-up of violence has badly dented Kenya’s tourist industry at one of its traditionally busiest times of the year, a key foreign currency earner and massive employer for the country.
Last week’s attacks were claimed by Somalia’s Islamist Shebab insurgents, though President Uhuru Kenyatta blamed “well-planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence” carried out by “local political networks”. Kenyatta’s accusations have stoked already tense political rivalry between the government and opposition parties, and raised fears of renewed ethnic tension.