At least four people were killed and several others injured in a shooting rampage in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, police said.
Witnesses said two attackers shot at people indiscriminately on the edge of Kenya’s second-largest city and scattered leaflets saying Sunday’s attack was retribution for last month’s raid on Mpeketoni, a town about 300km north of Mombasa.
“[…] Four people have been killed and several others injured,” said Robert Kitur, Mombasa County police commander, adding: “They did not steal anything. They just shot.” Kitur said the police were pursuing the gunmen.
Later on Monday, police arrested eight suspects in connection with the attack, a senior police officer said.
Peter Musyoki, a resident in Mombasa’s Likoni area who witnessed the shooting, said two masked men toting a rifle and a pistol haphazardly shot at passersby.
“I saw two men dressed in black with a red ribbon around their heads,” he said. “They walked on foot and were just shooting carelessly at anyone they saw,” Musyoki said.
The latest attack will further dent Kenya’s beleaguered tourist industry after a wave of deadly attacks and will deepen public frustrations about poor security.
About 50 people were killed when gunmen raided Mpeketoni in Lamu County, a coastal region where about 100 people in total have died since mid-June in a series of ambushes and raids.
Somalia’s al-Shabab fighters have claimed responsibility for many of the attacks but the government, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, has suggested local politicians were behind the incidents.
Critics say the comments by Kenyatta, an ethnic Kikuyu, were political point-scoring against Raila Odinga, a Luo who lost to Kenyatta in last year’s election but has been whipping up crowds with anti-government rallies.
The leaflets distributed at Likoni, warning Odinga and his community, could further fan an already tense political atmosphere in Kenya.
“This is a revenge for our brothers who were killed in Mpeketoni and you Luos, you won’t stay in peace, and you Raila if you have anything to do, just do, we are not fearing you at all,” said one of the leaflets seen by Reuters news agency.
A disputed poll in 2007 sparked weeks of ethnic bloodletting that left more than 1,200 people dead and crippled the economy.