News / Africa

Al-Shabab Claims Responsibility for Kenya Attack

  • A man observes the remains of destroyed vehicles and buildings in the town of Mpeketoni, Kenya, June 16, 2014.
  • A woman observes the remains of the Breeze View Hotel, where residents watching the World Cup soccer tournament were attacked and killed by militants, Mpeketoni, Kenya, June 16, 2014.
  • Residents peer into a building after an attack in Mpeketoni, Kenya, June 16, 2014.
  • Wreckages of burnt cars are seen outside the Mpeketoni police station after gunmen attacked the coastal Kenyan town, June 16, 2014.
  • Residents gather behind destroyed structures after gunmen attacked Mpeketoni, Kenya, June 16, 2014.
VOA News
The Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for an attack on a Kenyan town that killed at least 48 people.

A statement posted to a pro-Shabab website says gunmen attacked hotels, police stations, banks and other public places in the coastal town of Mpeketoni.  Some of those killed had gathered to watch the football World Cup.
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Abass Gullet, the head of the Kenya Red Cross, told VOA's Swahili Service that the gunmen wounded others in the attack late Sunday and caused significant damage.

"There are unconfirmed number injured, but we are trying to look with the government security forces.  But there's also property that has been destroyed.  There are two hotels and two banks and vehicles that have been burned. But other than that I think the attackers have run away," Gullet said.

At a news conference in Nairobi on Monday, Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Lenku said security officers are pursuing the perpetrators, and warned against attempts to incite public anger.

Al-Shabab says the attack was retaliation for the slaying of Muslim clerics in the Kenyan city of Mombasa, where several preachers have been killed in the past two years.  

The group blames Kenyan security forces for the killings -- an accusation Kenyan officials have denied.

Michael Yiebei, who works with the Kenya Red Cross, told the VOA his response team found numerous bodies lying in the streets, some shot, others hacked to death.

“More bodies have been recovered and right now we are talking about 48 dead persons,” Leonard Omollo, Lamu County police commander, told Reuters on telephone. “All the dead are men. There are no women or children.”

There were no immediate reports of foreign visitors being hurt in Sunday's attack, Reuters reported. The dead included at least one police officer.

Dozens of attackers
"There were around 50 attackers, heavily armed in three vehicles, and they were flying the Shabab flag. They were shouting in Somali and shouting 'Allahu Akbar' ('God is greatest')," District deputy commissioner Benson Maisori said, adding they attacked a police station, but officers fought them off.

Resident Anne Gathigi, 38, a mother of five, said the attackers killed her husband.

"They forced their way into our house, found us in the bedroom. They picked up my husband and took him to the sitting room where they demanded money from him, as soon as he gave them some cash, they shot him at close range," she told AFP.

"Then they turned to me and asked me if I knew Al-Shebab. They told me since 'our government has refused to pull our soldiers from Somalia, they had come to leave us 'widows and orphans.'"

Local resident and witness John Waweru, 28, said he lost two of his brothers to the attackers.

"I heard them shouting in Somali as they fired around. I lost two of my brothers, and I escaped. I ran and locked up myself in a house," he told AFP.

The fierce gun battles continued until after midnight, but by dawn on Monday the town of Mpeketoni was reported calm with security forces saying they were in pursuit of the attackers and authorities recovering the dead.

In Nairobi, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said police eventually drove the attackers away.

“The security services were mobilized to respond to the attack and after fierce exchange of fire the bandits fled into Boni forest," Lenku said.

Many Mpeketoni residents fled from the attack into nearby forests, said David Kimaiyo, the inspector general of Kenya's police.

No arrests yet

The al-Qaida-linked Islamist group has been behind a number of attacks in Kenya, which has troops fighting al-Shabab in Somalia.  More than 60 people were killed when al-Shabab militants assaulted a Nairobi shopping mall last September.

In 2010, the militant group attacked a World Cup viewing site in Uganda, which also has troops in Somalia.  That attack killed more than 70 people.

Kenya, which has blamed al-Shabab for previous attacks, had said it would be on alert during the World Cup to ensure public showings of matches were kept safe.
The attack could heighten existing worries in other African nations such as Nigeria, which is battling the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency, that bars and other venues drawing crowds by hosting World Cup match screenings could become targets.

Sunday's assault is the worst since last September when al-Shabab gunmen attacked Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, leaving 67 people dead.

VOA's Mohammed Yusuf contributed from Nairobi. Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ssewanyana from: Dallas texas
June 17, 2014 8:29 PM
More tight security has to be enforced in kenya

by: mojo from: USA
June 17, 2014 7:37 PM
when the people have no guns, only the criminals do and there is no way for the people to defend themselves!

by: farah from: mpls,mn
June 16, 2014 11:40 AM
how come alshabab from somalia pass through the border easily, isn,t there any border guards or check point. i think this is a internal opposition.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
June 16, 2014 12:19 PM
CRAZY isn't it? -- The US has a 1,969 mile (3,169 km) border with Mexico, (and with the greatest surveillance equipment and killer drones, of any country in the world), can't stop thousands of South American illegals from crossing the US and the Mexican border every week.... NOW, that's crazy isn't it?

by: Victor Purinton from: Cambridge MA
June 16, 2014 11:22 AM
The militant Islamist playbook is simple, consistent and universal: deliberately murder large numbers of civilians until populations are to afraid to oppose them, and then impose Sharia law.

They are dirty, dishonorable man who foul the Earth.

by: Mohammed abdulrahman from: Mombasa
June 16, 2014 7:40 AM
Where woz our security at that tyme? coz we hve wel trained police en solder y r thx thng happn?
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
June 16, 2014 12:24 PM
WHERE was your security? -- Look for them in Somalia, fighting Al-Shabab? --- REMEMBER?

by: Wladeck kamau from: Kenya
June 16, 2014 5:57 AM
Why dnt thz gunmen attack the govt ?bt remb God is watching
In Response

by: Ssewanyana from: Texas
June 17, 2014 8:31 PM
God have mercy
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
June 16, 2014 6:58 PM
MY OPINION? -- Al-Shabad spreads their Muslim religion by the sword, just like Muhammad did?

by: Boney Nyongesa from: western Kenya
June 16, 2014 5:56 AM
The K.D.F should be withdrawn from Somalia.

by: rogers msengi from: arusha
June 16, 2014 4:11 AM
I hate al shabab why killing innocent people?

by: babalola biodun from: Lagos,Nigeria
June 16, 2014 3:31 AM
My question is, when will Africa and the middle east come to their senses that they need to unite.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
June 16, 2014 12:35 PM
REMEMBER? -- Qaddafi built the African Union headquarters at Libyan expense, and tried to form the "United States of Africa" -- (AND?) -- when Qaddafi needed help, the African union abandoned him, and his sons? -- (Not one African country, spoke up for him and his sons?)

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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs