Kenyan separatist chief arrested

The leader of an outlawed secessionist group on Kenya`s coast was arrested Wednesday along with a dozen supporters, a local government official said.

Nairobi: The leader of an outlawed secessionist group on Kenya`s coast was arrested Wednesday along with a dozen supporters, a local government official said.

Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) chairman Omar Mwamnuadzi was arrested early Wednesday after police raided his house where he was meeting with a group of youths in Kwale, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of the main port city Mombasa.

"He was arrested this morning and he will appear in court to face charges," local government commissioner Evans Achoki told AFP.

"He was found holding a meeting in his house with a group of about 12 youths, and they were all arrested together."

The banned MRC insists it is a political movement campaigning for the independence of Kenya`s Indian Ocean coast.

It has repeatedly denied any involvement in a string of attacks blamed on Islamist gunmen in the traditionally mainly Muslim region, once one of Kenya`s most popular tourist destinations.

The government has blamed the MRC of involvement in a series of attacks in the Lamu region in June and July, in which scores were killed.

Somalia`s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in retaliation for Kenya`s military presence in Somalia.