, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 16 – The death toll following the attack in Mpeketoni, Lamu rose to 27 on Monday morning after more bodies were discovered.
“So far, 27 bodies have been collected from various parts of the town and the search is still underway,” Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo told Capital FM News on telephone.
“It is an atrocity we would not want to see repeated anywhere else,” Kimaiyo said, adding “one of the dead is a police officer.”
It is understood the officer had left his vehicle at the Mpeketoni Police Station and went to the town centre to have dinner when he was caught in the cross fire.
“We are pursuing them; we have intensified security in the town,” he said, blaming Al Shabaab attackers for the incident he termed as “heinous.”
No suspect had been arrested by Monday morning.
The attack occurred on Sunday night when eight gunmen hijacked two vans at Witu and commandeered the driver to Mpeketoni where they opened fire indiscriminately at anyone they came across.
It is believed they were joined by their accomplices who were already in the town because witnesses said they saw more than 50 attackers.
Areas affected were Mpeketoni Police station, two hotels, a bank and a fuel station.
One of the hotels was burnt down in the attack.
A police officer quoting witnesses said some of the gunmen were speaking in Somali as they moved from shop to shop and house to house shooting people.
“It was unbelievable… police officers were overwhelmed because the attackers were heavily armed,” one police officer who survived after hiding under a vehicle said, “the matter was made worse by darkness.”
Kenya has suffered a series of terror attacks since 2011 when the government deployed its military to pursue Al Shabaab militants inside Somalia.
In recent weeks, there have been heightened threats from the militant group, leading to several travel advisories from European countries.
The United Kingdom last week closed its consulate in Mombasa for fear of attacks.