Suspected Somali al Shabaab militants attack Kenyan coast, kill six people and burn houses

Suspected Somali al Shabaab militants attack Kenyan coast, kill six people and burn houses


Somali terrorists, Al Shabaab, killed six people in the early hours of Monday January 3, underlining how vulnerable the coastal region of Lamu remains under the spectre of the insurgents despite Kenya Defence Force (KDF) setting up a marine base in the Indian Ocean to respond to external aggression.

The morning attack at Widhu Majembeni area, witnesses said, also saw many houses being burnt down by people who were armed with crude weapons and machetes, which raised questions about the exact identity of the attackers.

“How can alleged al-Shabaab terrorists use machetes? We know they use guns. This attack is linked to politics in the area. We know Mpeketoni is a determinant in county politics considering its population. We want police to investigate this,” a resident of the area was quoted by Kenya’s daily, the Daily Nation, as saying.

Regional police boss Moses Mureithi confirmed the death of the six people, but would not confirm the involvement of Al Shabaab. Mr Mureithi, however, promised to share more details later.

“We are working on the issue as to establish how many houses were burnt down and how many people were injured. We shall share more information as soon as we receive any, but we have cordoned off the area,” Mureithi said.

In June 2014, more than 60 people were killed in attacks in and near the Mpeketoni area. The Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility, but after investigations, police asserted that the attacks were organised by local politicians with ties to a network of gangs.

Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia confirmed the incident and said investigations to nab the attackers were going on. Mr Macharia said the attack had been anticipated by security agencies after suspicious gang was sighted in the larger Boni Forest.

Tension remained high in the area amid fears of more attacks as security operations were mounted.

Witnesses said the attackers used a past modus operandi to spread fears among locals. It came two days after a bodaboda rider was on New Year killed after his motorcycle ran over a bomb that was set on the road in Kiunga, Lamu County.

Officials who visited the scene said the improvised explosive device had been set by al-Shabaab militants sighted in the area. The rider was ferrying khat to the near Kenya-Somalia border when his motorcycle was hit. He died on the spot, police said.

  • A Tell report
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