News / Africa

    Kenya President Blames Latest Attacks on Ethnic Divisions

    FILE - Wreckages of burnt cars are seen along the main road to Lamu from Mpeketoni after unidentified gunmen attacked the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni, June 16, 2014.
    FILE - Wreckages of burnt cars are seen along the main road to Lamu from Mpeketoni after unidentified gunmen attacked the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni, June 16, 2014.
    Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says deadly violence in two small towns in the coast region was ethnically motivated, despite a claim by the Somali militant group al-Shabab that it carried out the assaults. More than 60 people were killed in the attacks Sunday and Monday.

    In an address to the nation Tuesday, Kenyatta said the attack in Mpeketoni and Mporomoko towns was not Islamic terrorism.

    “The attack in Lamu was well-planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence against the Kenyan community, with the intention of profiling and evicting them for political reasons," said Kenyatta. "This, therefore, was not an al-Shabab terrorist attack. Evidence indicates that local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of the heinous crime.”

    Political tensions in Kenya have been on the rise in recent weeks, as the opposition demands the government convene a national forum to discuss the country's worsening security, economic and political situation.

    Opposition warns

    In their recent political rallies, the opposition warned Kenyatta’s government to heed to the call for dialogue, or face further protest demonstrations.

    Kenyatta says some politicians are preaching incitement and turning communities against each other.

    “Dangerous leaders preach the insidious message that some people are holy, while others are evil," said Kenyatta. "The sum total of these campaigns is to portray certain people as less human and therefore less deserving of compassion and consideration.”

    Members of the government led by Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, have been accused of favoring their communities in top government appointments, leaving other communities behind.

    In Mpeketoni, visiting Interior Cabinet secretary Joseph Ole Lenku was jeered Tuesday when he tried to address angry residents.

    Ole Lenku called on residents to help security officers nab the killers.

    "Our country is being attacked," he said. "We said in the beginning that there was incitement in this country. You the citizens you have to help us because these people have not left the area. They are among you. If you won’t tell us who they are, then it will take us some time to know who they are.”

    Growing discord

    Gunmen stormed into another town Tuesday in the coastal region, 18 kilometers away from Mpeketoni, killing at least 10 people. Government officials say townspeople were kidnapped and houses torched before the attackers escaped into the nearby Boni forest.

    Speaking in Kwale county Monday, opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga accused [Cabinet secretary] Lenku of trivializing the issue, and called for his resignation.

    Kenya has troops in Somalia fighting al-Shabab. In a statement to the media, the militant group said the Kenyan government is fighting a losing war and has turned its vengeance against Muslims in Kenya.

    The militants said the raids were in response to Kenya's intimidation and oppression of Muslims, and the extrajudicial killings of Muslim clerics.

    The group warned tourists visiting Kenya to stay away or suffer what it said would be the "bitter consequences of their folly."

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora