6 July 2014

South Africa: 18 Killed in Twin Attacks in Coastal Kenyan County

The death toll has risen to 18 from the latest twin attacks in Kenya's coastal county of Lamu after some bodies were discovered early on Sunday.

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said three people, two from the Hindi trading centre and one from the Gamba police station, have been evacuated and are receiving treatment after unknown gunmen struck the centre and the police station in Garsen, Tana Delta, on Saturday night.

"So far we have 18 fatalities, nine from Gamba police station and nine from the Hindi trading centre. We have evacuated three persons with serious injuries and are now receiving treatment," KRCS spokesperson Wariko Jacqueline Waita said on Sunday.

She said the general assessment of Gamba had already been completed while the search and discovery efforts were still underway at the Hindi trading centre where some people were still missing.

Mombasa Police Commander Robert Kitur said heavily armed attackers struck Gamba police station in Garsen, Tana Delta County at about 11pm, killing at least nine people before releasing a man believed to be a ringleader of the recent Mpeketoni attacks who was being held there.

According to the police, another group raided a Hindi shopping centre and killed at least nine people and injured several others before torching houses.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said that the attacks, which seemed to be simultaneous, came barely a month after 65 people were killed and several others injured in Mpeketoni, a largely peaceful farming community in Lamu.

"We have reports of the attacks and we have heavy presence of police there searching the attackers," said Kimaiyo, without confirming the death of a policeman who was inside the cell at the time of attack.

Police sources said the attackers killed the policeman on duty, before pulling out five people held in police cells and shooting them to death.

They further pulled out three other civilians in a lorry which had just arrived at the police station and killed them before disappearing into the bush.

Several people went to police stations to seek shelter as Somalia's Al-Shabaab group issued a statement claiming that their fighters had carried out another attack in the area on Saturday.

"The attackers came back home safely to their base," Al-Shabaab military spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab said.

Residents said gunfire erupted in Hindi near the popular tourist coast of Lamu on Saturday night.

The Lamu attacks are among the most deadly attacks in Kenya since last September when at least 67 people were killed during a siege at Nairobi's Westgate shopping centre. - SAnews.gov.za-Xinhua

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