29 people were killed in overnight attacks by terror group al-Shabaab who raided Kenyan coastal village taking aim at residents and targeted police station. (FYI Kenya’s Muslim population is only about 11%)
Twenty of the victims were killed in an attack in the Gamba area of Tana River county, where gunmen rushed the police station and freed suspected al-Shabab militants. Another nine were killed in a separate raid at the Hindi trading center in neighboring Lamu county, near the town of Mpeketoni where 65 people were killed last month.
The Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which last September attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, claimed responsibility for the attacks. Mwenda Njoka, a spokesman for the interior ministry, told Reuters: ‘There were two attacks in Lamu and Tana River last night. In Lamu we have nine people dead and in Tana River we have 20. The number could rise.’
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters in Mogadishu that the Somali group was behind both attacks on Saturday night. It had also said it was responsible for the June raids in Lamu County, around Mpeketoni.
Officials said a group of 10-15 men struck at Hindi, situated nine miles from the town of Lamu, and close to the town of Mpeketoni, which was nearly destroyed in one of the attacks in June, at about 10 pm on Saturday.
‘They went around shooting at people and villages indiscriminately,’ Abdallah Shahasi, the area chief, told Reuters. Al-Shabab announced that at the same time it had broken into the police station at Gamba and freed suspects from the detention cells. A Kenyan police source, who asked not to be named, corroborated that account.
He told Reuters: ‘They killed some of our colleagues and freed Muslim detainees. Some of those freed were linked to the Mpeketoni attacks two weeks ago. ‘We still don’t know how many detainees were freed until we verify with registers at the station.’
The officer said the gunmen got to the police station by car-jacking a truck and killing its three occupants. Five police officers were wounded in the attack and one officer was killed, he said.