[QODLink]
Africa

Al-Shabab claims deadly Kenya attack

Somalia-based group says attacks will continue, and tells tourists to stay away after assault in Mpeketoni kills 48.

Last updated: 17 Jun 2014 05:53
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

The Somalia-based armed group al-Shabab has said it carried out a deadly attack on a town in Kenya in which 48 people were killed and several buildings burned down.

In a statement sent to Al Jazeera on Monday, the group said that the attacks would continue, adding that the Kenyan government was "fighting a losing war" and telling tourists to stay away.      

Analysis with Al Jazeera's Hamza Mohamed

The group said they targeted the coastal town of Mpeketoni on Sunday because it was originally a Muslim area that was "invaded and occupied by Christian settlers".

"The prospect of peace and stability in Kenya will be but a distant mirage," the statement said. "Brace yourself for the depredations of war and that which you have with your hands sown."

Al Jazeera's Rawyah Rageh, reporting from Mpeketoni on Monday, said that residents were "shocked" about how the attack lasted for hours, with the gunmen fleeing with minimal resistance.

Sunday's attack in Kenya's tourist hub was the biggest since the deadly Westgate Mall raid last September in the capital Nairobi.

Kenya's Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku promised on Monday to pursue the attackers.

Attack on foreigners

Al Jazeera's Rageh said the attack did not target foreigners in Kenya.

"Attacks frequently carried out by al-Shabab target foreigners, but the latest one targeted locals in a small town," she said.

Kenya sent troops into Somalia in late 2011, after al-Shabab fighters carried out a series of raids on Kenyan soil.

Al-Shabab, which has fought a seven-year campaign to impose its interpretation of Islamic law inside Somalia, has said it wants to take revenge for Kenya's deployment of troops in the Horn of Africa nation.

"The Mpeketoni raid was carried out in response to Kenyan military's continued invasion and occupation of our Muslim lands and the massacre of innocent Muslims in Somalia."

Kenya has experienced a drop in tourist arrivals in recent months following gun and grenade attacks blamed on al-Shabab or its sympathisers.

In May, explosions in Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa led the UK, US, France and Australia to issue warnings about travel to Kenya, and at least 400 tourists cut short their holidays and left hotels along the Indian Ocean coast.

Kenya called the alerts "unfriendly", saying they would increase panic and play into the hands of those behind the assaults.

432

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.