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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

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?)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs