Thursday July 17, 2014Kenyan security forces are searching a forest near the border with Somalia for attackers who killed at least 87 people near the country’s coast over the past month.
Kenya’s military destroyed at least four camps being used by the assailants in Boni Forest, the Nairobi-based Daily Nation newspaper reported, citing people it didn’t identify. The security forces suspect the attackers are a band of radicalized youth trained by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militia who have returned to Kenya from fighting in Somalia after losing ground to African Union peacekeepers, it said.
“The security forces are combing the forest to make sure the attackers have no safe haven,” Lamu County Commissioner Njenga Miiri said in a phone interview today. “Operations are still under way.”
Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for attacks at the coast, including one at Mpeketoni in which at least 60 people died in mid-June. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government says political and land grievances motivated the coastal assaults.
Al-Shabaab has said it would attack Kenya in retaliation for the country’s deployment of troops in Somalia, where the militia is trying to overthrow the government and establish Shariah, or Islamic law. Kenyatta has vowed to keep the troops in place until the threat of al-Shabaab is thwarted.
Tourism, the country’s biggest foreign-currency earner after tea, has been dented by the threats, with arrivals of holidaymakers falling 18 percent to 1.4 million last year.