15 killed in fresh Kenya attack, Al-Shabaab claims responsibility

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 17, 2014 18:41 hrs

Nairobi, June 17 (IANS) In a fresh attack a day after massacring 48 people in a Kenyan coastal town, Al-Shabaab militants killed 15 people in a village in the same area, police said Tuesday.

Lamu county Commissioner Stephen Ikua said the militants killed 15 people in Poromoko village Monday night, a day after they massacred 48 people in the Kenyan coastal town of Mpeketoni. The gunmen attacked villagers and set houses on fire, Ikua said.

"We have received reports of fresh attacks and we have sent a contingent of police officers to establish the number of casualties and nature of attack," Xinhua quoted Ikua as saying Tuesday.

The victims were shot dead at close range by the assailants.

The attack came despite strong government assurances that it would protect the citizens and arrest the assailants.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for both attacks.

In its radio broadcast, the militant group said it carried out fresh attacks in Mpeketoni and killed more than 20 people, including police, and burned houses in the area.

"Mujahideen conducted an operation in villages near Mpeketoni last night killing 20 enemies, mostly soldiers," Xinhua cited Al-Shabaab's Andalus radio as saying.

The group claimed the attack was to avenge the killing of Muslims allegedly by Kenyan security forces in the coastal city of Mombasa.

Police spokesperson Zipporah Mboroki confirmed that more bodies have been recovered.

"I can confirm there were fresh attacks in Mpeketoni last night but I am unable to give you the exact number of casualties," he told Xinhua over phone.

Top security chiefs led by Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku visited the affected areas while more security forces are being deployed.

Analysts said the latest attacks, the deadliest since the Westgate shopping mall attack in capital Nairobi that killed 68 people, were a blow to Kenya's already troubled tourism which relies heavily on foreign visitors who often combine safaris with beach holidays in Mombasa.

Al Qaeda-linked Somali militants have vowed to attack Kenya after Kenyan soldiers crossed into Somalia in 2011 to flush out the insurgents Nairobi blamed for kidnappings of tourists.

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