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Kenya assures tourists despite attack in Mpeketoni

17 June 2014, 07:44

Nairobi - Kenya's tourism marketers on Monday assured visitors that Sunday night's attack in the coastal town of Mpeketoni did not in any way affect Lamu Island which is one of the tourist resorts.

A statement from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said there were no international tourists in the Mpeketoni trading center following the latest terrorist attack on the country.

"There were no tourists in the area at the time of the incident. KTB is able to confirm that Mpeketoni has no international tourist facilities and is not an area frequented by international visitors, " the statement said.

About 50 heavily armed gunmen with explosives struck the trading center, a farming community in Lamu County on Sunday night, killing with 48 people including a policeman.

The attackers were in two vehicles and sprayed bullets on the residents. Police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi said the security forces are hunting down the assailants who believed well trained militia men.

"We have deployed highly powered team comprising military, GSU and police conducted ground operation to apprehend the gunmen." Mwinyi told Xinhua.

He said the government will ensure comprehensive statement of the nature of the attack and casualities.

"More bodies have been recovered and right now we are talking about 48 dead persons. All the dead are men. There are no women or children, and this fairly complicates matters," said Mwinyi.

Mpeketoni which is a small town in the main part of Lamu district had been under siege for the last two hours with unconfirmed reports suggesting that it was the Al-Shabaab fighters.

The raiders are believed to have attacked a police station and various business premises in the area. "KTB would like to extend their sincere condolences to those affected by this incident at this difficult time," it said.

The tourism markets who have been diversifying tourism in West Africa and Asian said Lamu Island, one of Kenya's primary tourist resorts, is in no way affected by this attack and neither is any other part of the Kenya coast.

"The majority of visitors travelling to Lamu arrive by air into the local airport," KTB said, pointing out that the assault took place 54km south of Lamu Island by road.

"All tourist activity continues as normal throughout the country with holiday-makers visiting the country for safari circuits and the popular coastal resorts of Diani, Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi and Lamu," KTB said.

The Mpeketoni attack is the most deadly attack in Kenya since at least 67 people were killed during a siege at Nairobi's Westgate shopping center last September.

 - Xinhua

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