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
x
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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs