Dozens of Somali extremists wielding automatic weapons attacked a small Kenyan coastal town for hours, assaulting the police station, setting two hotels on fire, and spraying bullets into the street. At least 48 people were killed, officials said.
The assault began around 8 p.m. local time as town residents were watching World Cup matches on TV. The attack met little resistance from the country’s security apparatus, and lasted until early.
Authorities blamed al-Shabab, Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked terror group.
Kenya’s top police commander, David Kimaiyo, said the death toll was 48.
Another police commander said that as residents were watching the World Cup at the Breeze View Hotel, the gunmen pulled the men aside and ordered the women to watch as they killed them.
The attackers told the women that that’s what Kenyan troops are doing to Somalia men inside Somalia. The police commander insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to share that detail of the attack.
A police spokeswoman said authorities believe that several dozen attackers took part.
The assault occurred in the town of Mpeketoni, which is about 20 kilometers southwest of the tourist center of Lamu. Any tourism in Mpeketoni is mostly local, with few foreigners visiting the region. The town is about 100 kilometers from the Somali border. Mpeketoni is about 600 kilometers from the capital, Nairobi.