The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Huge Losses Suffered By Mpeketoni Traders

Property worth millions of shillings was destroyed in the Sunday night Mpeketoni attack that left at least 50 people dead. Three financial institutions - Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank and the Kenya Women Finance Trust were burnt down by the attackers.

Four major hotels; Breeze View, Taweel, Complex and Mtandao Guest House and several other private business premises were also reduced to ashes. More than 30 vehicles including PSVs plying the Lamu-Malindi-Mombasa route were also set on fire when the heavily armed gang raided the town.

Mpeketoni is one of the key agricultural areas in Lamu county and the town had grown into an agri-business centre. The attack was spread over a three-kilometre radius covering Mpeketoni and Kibaoni trading centres.

Government premises and property including Mpeketoni police station and vehicles in the town were not spared. Fresh attacks were reported on Monday night where at least 10 more people were reportedly killed at Poromoko village.

"We have incurred big losses from lives to businesses. Mpeketoni is an agri-business-driven town and such an attack brings everything to a stand-still," said businessman Peter Mwangi.

The Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurant Association of Kenya also termed the attack "a major loss to the community of Mpeketoni".

"This is a big loss. We are saddened by the attack that has left people dead and affected businesses and the lives of Mpeketoni people. This will affect everyone in the town as its impact will be felt for a long time," said Perak CEO Lilian Kalela.

She said Perak will train hotel and restaurant owners from July on how to detect and address terror threats.

"Security training is very vital. We will involve both Perak members and non-members to help boost security. It is such a big loss when we lose lives and property at this magnitude. We have to take measures," Kalela said.

Yesterday, Lamu Trade executive Samia Bwana called for calm from locals, business owners and guests. He dismissed reports in the media that the attack occurred in Lamu town.

"Please note that the incident did not occur at any tourist hotel targeting foreign tourists or on Lamu Island. Mpeketoni is on the mainland of Lamu county and is 40km away from Lamu Island," read a statement from his office.

He said the airport on Manda Island and the Lamu town Unesco World Heritage Site are therefore unaffected by the incident.

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