Political leaders blamed for two coastal attacks

The killers in the Kenyan village singled out non-Muslims, shooting them point-blank or slitting their throats, just like the previous night in an adjacent hamlet. A Somali extremist group claimed responsibility but Kenya’s president on Tuesday blamed local political networks for the 60 deaths.

NAIROBI, Kenya — The killers in the Kenyan village singled out non-Muslims, shooting them point-blank or slitting their throats, just like the previous night in an adjacent hamlet. A Somali extremist group claimed responsibility but Kenya’s president on Tuesday blamed local political networks for the 60 deaths.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a national address, said evidence indicates that the motive for the killing spree was to evict a community of people in order to grab the land along the coast near the Somali border. He said al-Shabab, a Somali group linked to al-Qaida, was not behind it.

But analysts expressed doubt. Matt Bryden, the former head of the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia, said al-Shabab has never claimed credit for an attack it didn’t carry out.

“It has all the hallmarks of an al-Shabab attack, said Bryden, now the head of Sahan Research. ”Secondly, there’s been no sign of a Kenyan group carrying out an attack on this scale or with these tactics.“

In a nearby village, residents stood on top of burned-out vehicles and erected barricades of burning tires to blockade the road in protest against the recent killings and what they claimed was the government’s failure to provide them with enough security.

Some residents abandoned another village with their belongings on their heads while armed security forces marched in single file along narrow paths leading through the dense swamp and forest, searching for the killers.

Al-Shabab said Monday that such attacks would continue “as you continue to invade our lands and oppress innocent Muslims.” Al-Shabab gunmen attacked an upscale mall in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, last September, killing at least 67 people in reprisal for Kenya sending its troops to Somalia.

The second night of deadly attacks against a Christian community on Kenya’s north coast seemed designed to try to inflame Christian-Muslim tensions in Kenya, religious and political leaders said.

Bearded Muslim leaders conferring inside Nairobi’s largest mosque, a grand white facade nestled among the capital’s high rises, condemned what they called savage acts and ghastly killings and said there was no justification for them.

They warned of a potential sectarian rift.

“The continued violence risks tearing the country apart,” they said, continuing later: “We need to be cognizant of the fact that some of these attacks are aimed at planning seeds of discord and animosity among Kenyans and divide the country along ethnic and religious lines.”

Kenyatta labeled the perpetrators of the attacks as reckless hate-mongers who create intolerance and fanaticism.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said a new slate of government and security officials have been installed in Lamu in the wake of the attacks, in part because “there seems to be some inside job.”

The newer attack happened in Majembeni village, which is next to Mpeketoni, where four dozen Christian men were slaughtered Sunday night and Monday morning. Al-Shabab said in a radio broadcast in Somalia that its fighters killed government workers and Christians.

A county commissioner, Benson Maisori, said the attackers Tuesday night appear to have been the same group as in Mpeketoni. He confirmed 10 deaths in Majembeni.

“The style of killing is the same. They slit the victims throats wide open or shot them several times in the head,” said Maisori.

Though much of Kenya’s north coast has been inhabited by Muslims for centuries, Mpeketoni residents are mostly Kikuyu, a Christian community that the president hails from. Land issues have long caused severe tension on the coast, with Muslims blaming “upcountry” Kenyans for stealing land.

Whoever was behind the attacks, the back-to-back assaults underscore the weak security around the area, which lies just south of the Somali border. The tourist centre of nearby Lamu island once attracted hordes of foreign visitors but its tourist sector has been suffering in recent years because of the violence.

Kenya has seen ethnic violence rip apart the country in recent years. More than 1,000 people were killed in ethnically motivated violence after the country’s 2007 election. Both Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto have been charged at the International Criminal Court for what the court’s prosecutor says is their role in helping to instigate that bloodshed.

Just Posted

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place made sure Red Deer families were able to have an… Continue reading

RDC cancels championship-winning golf program due to tight finances

Short season, small number of student golfers were also considerations

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

Time for a central Albertan in cabinet, says chamber of commerce

Central Alberta had no cabinet ministers in last government

WATCH video of Innisfail resident creating the world’s biggest caricature

Watch as Innisfail resident Dean Foster creates the world’s biggest caricature of… Continue reading

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

PARIS — A “computer glitch” may have been behind the fast-spreading fire… Continue reading

Former journalist pleads guilty to robbing two banks in Medicine Hat

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former journalist arrested almost two years ago… Continue reading

Austria fears for three top climbers missing in Banff National Park

BERLIN — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday his thoughts are with… Continue reading

As Vancouver fights over 4-20, Seattle’s Hempfest enjoys tolerance, some support

VANCOUVER — They both came from humble beginnings: small protests against marijuana… Continue reading

All eyes on the surging Greens as Prince Edward Island goes to the polls

After a brief provincial election campaign devoid of drama, voters on Prince… Continue reading

North Dakota company where 4 were slain seeks normalcy

MANDAN, N.D. — Camaraderie was so important for the “coffee club” at… Continue reading

Trump blasts ex-advisers who say he tried to stop Mueller

WASHINGTON — A day after celebrating the release of the Mueller report… Continue reading

Sanders claims she didn’t lie, despite Mueller finding

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders pushed back Friday against… Continue reading

Most Read