Nairobi, 16 June-2014, IANS: At least four people were killed and several others injured after Al-Shabaab militants burnt down hotels and a police station in the coastal town of Mpeketoni town in the mainland part of Lamu District on the coast of Kenya Sunday night, police said.
Al-Shabaab militants attack in Kenya killed four
Eyewitnesses told Xinhua they had seen four bodies lying on the street and residents fleeing the trading centre on the main coastal road amid sporadic shootings between police and the militants who were estimated to be around 20.
“I have seen some bodies lying on the streets as I was fleeing the town,” said a witness who sought anonymity. He said the residents were fleeing the area into the nearby forests as police continued to battle unknown hooded gunmen.
There was no official confirmation of the casualties. Some residents said the attack took place around 8 p.m. and gunshots could be heard three hours later.
“We heard explosion that followed by serious gun battle. I saw at least four bodies among them a woman killed in the shopping centre,” Salim Cheka, an eyewitness who resides in the area, said.
More than 20 gunmen ambushed police station and set ablaze at least four hotels including the Breeze View Hotel, Taweel restaurant and a petrol station, said other eyewitnesses.
The heavily armed men were believed to have commandeered a van from Witu area. Senior police officers said that security agencies were engaging the gunmen in fierce shootings.
Military spokesperson Emmanuel Chirchir confirmed the attack and blamed the Somali insurgents behind the latest attacks in the coastal town which had been previously hit by bandits.
At around 8 p.m., two Nissan vans with unknown occupants entered Mpeketoni and the people inside the vans started shooting people around in town, with assailants likely belonging Al-Shabaab. Surveillance aircraft was already airborne, Chirchir said in his Twitter account.
The attack came two days after the British government closed its consulate office in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa citing security concerns.
Al-Shabaab militants have vowed to attack Nairobi after the east African nation’s soldiers crossed into Somalia in 2011 to flush out the insurgents it blamed for kidnappings of tourists.