الأربعاء , يونيو 10 2020

Second deadly attack near Kenya town



Burnt out vehicle in aftermath of al-Shabab attack

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The BBC’s Dennis Okari says that targeting villages rather than towns marks a shift in al-Shabab’s tactics

At least 15 people have been killed in a new attack by Islamist militants near Kenya’s coastal town of Mpeketoni, local police say.

They say the gunmen raided two villages overnight.

Somalia’s al-Shabab group said it had carried out the attack, telling Reuters that its “operations in Kenya will continue”.

At least 48 people died after the al-Qaeda-linked group attacked hotels and a police station in the town on Sunday.

Al-Shabab said it was revenge for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and the killing of Muslims.

Kenya sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to help the weak UN-backed government defeat the militants.

New tactic?

“We raided villages around Mpeketoni again last night,” al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters on Tuesday.

al-Shabab fighters. File photoAl-Shabab fighters have carried out a number of deadly attacks in Kenya in recent months

A man observes the remains of destroyed vehicles and buildings in the town of Mpeketoni in Kenya on 16 June 2014 Hotels, restaurants and the police station were attacked in Sunday’s attack on Mpeketoni

Men look at a pool of blood at the entrance of a restaurant in Mpeketoni. Photo: 16 June 2014Many people were reportedly shot in a restaurant where they tried to hide from the attackers

He was later quoted by the AFP as saying that the militants “have been going to several places looking for military personnel”. He said most of those killed were police officers and wildlife wardens.

Kenyan police said that the gunmen raided two villages in the Poromoko district near Mpeketoni.

The authorities said the militants jammed a telecommunication system before the killings to prevent villagers from sounding the alarm.

In Sunday’s attack, al-Shabab appeared to target men, in many cases leaving their wives and children unharmed.

The BBC’s Dennis Okari in Nairobi says this is a new tactic for the group.

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Mpeketoni, near Lamu Island, is not a tourist resort. It appears the attackers were not interested in foreigners or their interests, our correspondent says.

After last year’s Westgate attack in Nairobi – al-Shabab’s most deadly raid in Kenya – the group received a lot of criticism for killing women and children.

For fear of losing support from sympathisers, perhaps there is a change in the style of attacks and targets are more profiled, our correspondent says.

Kenya has been on high alert recently following warnings that al-Shabab was planning more attacks.

The US and UK have issued advisories to their nationals to keep away from parts of the Kenyan coast and hundreds of British tourists were evacuated last month.

Last week, the UK closed its consulate in the port city of Mombasa.

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