At a news conference, Ole Lenku was forced to defend the government’s security record after a string of attacks. He also warned opposition politicians against inciting violence, saying it was possible the attack was linked to politics. The claim was
immediately dismissed by security experts who are now a staple of Kenyan news shows.
Kenya’s top police commander, David Kimaiyo, said the death toll was 48. A police spokeswoman said authorities believe that several dozen attackers took part.
Mpeketoni is about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of the tourist center of Lamu. Any tourism in Mpeketoni is mostly local, with few foreigners visiting the area. The town is 60 miles (100 kilometers) from the Somali border and 360 miles (600 kilometers) from the capital, Nairobi.
Kenya has experienced a wave of gunfire and explosive attacks in recent months. The U.S., U.K., France, Australia, and Canada have all recently upgraded their terror threat warnings for the country. U.S. Marines behind sandbag bunkers are now stationed on the
roof of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.
The Interior Ministry said that at about 8 p.m. Sunday, two minivans entered the town. Militants disembarked and began shooting. Kenya’s National Disaster Operations Center said military surveillance planes were launched shortly afterward.
Lamu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the country’s oldest continually inhabited town. The region saw a spate of kidnappings of foreign tourists in 2011 that Kenya said was part of its motivation for attacking al-Shabab in Somalia. Since those attacks and subsequent terror warnings, tourism has dropped off sharply around Lamu.
At least 67 people were killed in September when four al-Shabab gunmen attacked an upscale mall in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Kenya sent its troops to Somalia in October 2011.
(Photo Source: AP)