Nairobi — Police were still combing the forest in Kilifi where suspected members of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) are believed to be hiding, following Thursday's killing of eleven people.
Those killed were shot or hacked to death when residents clashed with the MRC members who were allegedly found taking an oath, according to police.
"There was a confrontation between residents and the criminals, and our officers intervened only to find the criminals armed," Aggrey Adoli, police chief for Mombasa said.
"Twelve people were killed," he said.
Some of those killed are MRC members while others are residents--including a village elder.
Kilifi divisional police chief Beatrice Gachao said the area remained tense even as more officers were deployed to the forest and neighbouring villages. She said a police officer wounded in the confrontation is recuperating at the Pandya Hospital in Mombasa.
Several suspected MRC members were arrested and detained for interrogation on Friday.
"An investigation is going on; we want to know what exactly happened," Adoli said.
Police said they believe the MRC members were taking an oath in the forest because some of their paraphernalia and a flag were recovered. Members of the MRC have threatened to lobby the coastal people to secede from the rest of Kenya, arguing that they have been neglected by governments over the years.
A Mombasa court recently ruled that the group is legitimate, although the government still insists it remains illegal.