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Shooting reported in violence-hit Kenyan coastal region

Last Updated: Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 06:09

Nairobi: Shooting was reported in Kenya`s coastal district of Lamu, the same area where some 60 people were massacred last month, authorities said.

Kenya`s National Disaster Operations Centre said in a brief statement yesterday on Twitter that gunfire broke out in the trading centre of Hindi near the town of Mpeketoni, the scene of the mass killings.

The NDOC said that local authorities and police were responding and that the "location has been secured". But there were no reports of casualties.

The Kenyan Red Cross also said no casualties had been reported.

The incident took place around 15 kilo metres from Lamu, once a popular tourist resort.

Details of the incident were not immediately clear, although a spokesman for Somalia`s Shebab rebels issued a statement claiming that the Al-Qaeda-linked group`s fighters had carried out another attack in the area.

"The attackers came back home safely to their base," Shebab military spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab said, claiming that 10 people had been killed in the attack.

The Shebab also claimed responsibility for last month`s attack at Mpeketoni, saying it was in retaliation for Kenya`s military presence in Somalia as part of the African Union force backing the country`s fragile and internationally-backed government.

Survivors of the massacre in the town and a similar attack the following night in a nearby village reported gunmen speaking Somali and carrying Shebab flags killed non-Muslims and said their actions were revenge for Kenya`s military presence in Somalia as part of the African Union force fighting the Islamists.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, however, denied that the Shebab 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, the same tribe as Kenyatta.

Police also arrested alleged separatists from the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a group that campaigns for independence of the coastal region, as well as the governor of Lamu county, who is an opposition politician.

First Published: Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 06:09
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