At least 20 people were killed in overnight attacks on two of Kenya's coastal towns near where 65 people were massacred last month, the Red Cross said Sunday. Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Red Cross chief Abbas Gulet said the attacks took place in the towns of Hindi in Lamu county and Gamba in Tana River.
Kenya has suffered a spate of gun and explosive attacks since deploying its troops in October 2011 to fight Al Shabaab militants from Somalia.
According to the Lamu county commissioner Njenga Miiri, a group of about 15 gunmen raided the Malamandi village of Hindi and started shooting at residents.
Survivors of those massacres reported how gunmen speaking Somali and carrying Al Shabaab flags killed non-Muslims and said their actions were revenge for Kenya's presence in Somalia.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, however, denied that Al Shabaab militants were involved and instead blamed "local political networks" and said that the victims had been singled out because of their ethnicity.
The attackers appeared to target Mpeketoni because the town is a mainly Christian settlement in the Muslim-majority coastal region, having been settled decades ago by the Kikuyu people from central Kenya, the same tribe as Kenyatta.
Police also arrested alleged separatists from the Mombasa Republican Council, a group that campaigns for independence of the coastal region, as well as the governor of Lamu county, who is an opposition politician.
The unrest in the coastal region has badly dented Kenya's tourist industry – a key foreign currency earner and massive employer for the country – at one of its traditionally busiest times of the year.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-07-06