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Lamu attack death toll rises to 11

24 June 2014, 14:11

Mombasa - At least 11 people have been killed in an attack in Lamu, officials said Tuesday, one week after some 60 people died in twin massacres nearby.

The attack took place overnight on a small village of Maleli near the town of Witu, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) on the mainland west of the tourist island of Lamu.

"There were reports of five dead," Lamu County Commissioner Stephen Ikua told AFP early morning, calling it an "unfortunate attack", the third in the area this month.

"We have sent our officers to the ground to get more details.. they are on the ground persuing the attackers."

Later on though, there were six more bodies recovered, taking the toll to 11 as confirmed by the Kenya Red Cross in the area.

The village is reported to be mix of Kenyan ethnic groups.

Several people were reported to have been wounded in the attack, and have been taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, local councillor Athaman Badi said.

There was no immediate claims of responsiblity.

Attacks last week on the nearby coastal Mpeketoni district left at least 60 dead and were claimed by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents, though President Uhuru Kenyatta blamed "well-planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence" carried out by "local political networks".

The accusations have stoked already tense political rivalry between Kenyatta and opposition parties.

It has also badly dented Kenya's tourist industry at one of its traditionally busiest times of the year, a key foreign currency earner and massive employer for the country.

After the attacks, Kenyan security forces killed five people they suspected of involvement in the massacres, recovering AK-47 assault rifles as well as ammunition.

Three others have also been charged in connection with the killings.

However, Somalia's Shebab insisted they carried out the massacres. They have carried out a string of revenge attacks for Kenya's military role in southern Somalia, including last year's siege of the Westgate shopping mall that left 67 people dead.

Kenyan fighter jets and attack helicopters launched renewed air strikes on Sunday in southern Somalia targeting Shebab bases, as part of an offensive by the 22,000-strong UN-backed AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM), who launched in March a fresh bid to wrest remaining towns from the Islamists.

Kenya army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir boasted the strikes had "left more than 80 Al-Shebab terrorists killed."

But Shebab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab, who said Kenyan troops with the AU were also fighting the Islamists on the ground Monday, dismissed claims over 80 of his fighters had been killed as propaganda.

In separate attacks, at least 20 people were killed over the weekend in northeastern Kenya in ethnic clashes, the latest in a series of revenge attacks between rival Somali clans that has killed over 80 people and forced over 75,000 people from their homes since May.

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