GARISSA, Jul 8 – At least one person was killed and several injured when gunmen hurled a grenade in a restaurant in Kenya’s restive northeastern town of Wajir, before spraying the building with bullets and escaping, police said Tuesday.
“The victims were rushed to Wajir district hospital one of the injured people succumbed to his bullet wounds,” Wajir police chief David Kuria said.
No one claimed immediate responsibility for the killing late Monday, the latest in a string of attacks along Kenya’s border region with war-torn Somalia.
Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab have launched attacks in the area, but the region has also witnessed weeks of revenge attacks between rival Somali clans, with at least 80 killed since May in fighting over land and grazing for livestock.
The remote, rural region is one of Kenya’s most volatile areas, awash with guns and armed bandits.
The Shabaab have claimed responsibility for earlier attacks, saying they were in retaliation for Kenya’s military presence in Somalia as part of the African Union force supporting the country’s fragile and internationally-backed government.
In a separate attack, gunmen in Kenya’s coastal Lamu district torched offices late Monday of a conservation organisation in the latest raid on the restive coast, government officials said.
“They set ablaze the camp and also several vehicles, then there was also shooting between the attackers and police at the base,” said government official Shahasi Abdalla, the local area chief.
There was no claim of responsibility for that attack either, but it follows massacres in the same area in which at least 87 people have been killed, according to the Red Cross.
The attack occurred late Monday at Amu Ranch, some 16 kilometres (10 miles) west of the coastal town of Lamu, at a community-run wildlife reserve working to support local peoples, animals and traditional ways of life.
“No one was killed or wounded in the attack,” Abdalla told AFP.
The ranch hosts offices of the Lamu Conservation Trust, which works to support marginalised communities and protect some 63,000 acres of coastal forest inhabited by elephants and buffalo.
Lamu island has in the past hosted wealthy visitors including celebrities. In January, American actress Kristin Davies visited the Amu Ranch where the attack took place, as part of her work supporting elephant conservation efforts.
But the unrest in the coastal region has already badly dented Kenya’s tourist industry — a key foreign currency earner and massive employer for the country — at one of its traditionally busiest times of the year.