, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – Gunmen shot dead a Kenyan policeman and wounded two others in an overnight attack on the Kilifi coastal region, local government officials said Friday.
“We lost a police officer in the attack,” said Kilifi county commissioner Albert Kobia. “They were attacked by a gang that opened fire at the station.”
The attack, some 55 kilometres northeast along the coast from the main port of Mombasa, is the latest in a string of killings in Kenya in recent months.
Kenya’s coast was once one of its most popular tourist destinations but has seen visitor numbers slump after the attacks.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but previous attacks have been blamed on Islamist groups accused of links to Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab rebels, or to a separatist movement called the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC).
Reports of the attack come as Kenya holds celebrations and military parades in the capital Nairobi to mark Kenya’s Independence Day, 51 years since winning freedom from Britain’s colonial rule.
The banned MRC has always insisted it is a political movement campaigning for the independence of Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast, a traditionally mainly Muslim region.
Shabaab insurgents have also carried out repeated revenge attacks since Kenya invaded Somalia in 2011.
Attacks include last year’s Westgate shopping mall massacre, in which at least 67 people died, and a string of more recent killings in northeastern regions.
The Shabaab said their recent cross-border attacks – including executing 28 non-Muslims in an attack on a bus followed days later by a massacre of 36 in a quarry – were fresh retaliation for Kenya’s presence in Somalia, as well as its treatment of Muslims in the troubled port city of Mombasa.