Hundreds flee Kenya coast after Mpeketoni attack
Hundreds of families have fled the towns of Mpeketoni and Witu in the Lamu district and surrounding villages following an attack last week that left more than 60 people dead, the Kenyan Red Cross said Thursday.
“Displaced families are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance,” Hassan Musa, Red Cross coordinator in Kilifi and Lamu counties, told Anadolu Agency.
“The situation remains tense, with more and more families fleeing their homes in fear of fresh attacks,” he said.
At least 60 people were killed last week when rebels attacked Mpeketoni on Kenya’s border with Somalia.
Five people appeared in court earlier this week in connection with the attack.
Musa said there was a “mass population movement” toward the Lamu mainland following the attack.
According to the Kenyan Red Cross, around 606 families are now seeking shelter at two camps set up at the Kitile Mavuno and Poromoko trading centers.
“Among the displaced are 126 children and 33 pregnant women,” the aid agency said, noting that displaced Kenyans were in dire need of food, shelter and medicine.
Kenya has been hit by a spate of recent attacks that the authorities blame on Somalia’s rebel Al-Shabaab group, which demands that Nairobi withdraw its troops – first dispatched in 2011 – from Somalia.
Although Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for last week’s attacks in Lamu, the government chose to blame them on “incitement” by local politicians.,
Kenya governor in court over Mpeketoni attacks
A Kenyan county governor on Thursday was summoned to a Mombasa court to answer questions about his possible involvement in last week’s attacks in the southeastern town of Mpeketoni, in which more than 60 people were killed.
Lamu County Governor Issa Timamy was arrested on Wednesday evening upon his arrival on Lamu Island following an earlier meeting with Deputy President William Ruto in capital Nairobi.
Prosecutors accused Timamy of involvement in “terrorism acts, murder and forceful eviction,” according to a copy of the prosecutor’s affidavit obtained by Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
Despite the court’s decision to summon Timamy, prosecutors asked Judge Martin Muya for more time to investigate the governor.
Muya is expected to issue a ruling on Monday as to whether Timamy should be held for a 14-day period while investigations are conducted.
Timamy’s United Democratic Forum Party (UDF) has protested the arrest and the manner in which the governor was apprehended.
“Timamy was not informed of his arrest but was instead tricked into travelling from Nairobi to Lamu, then bundled into a car like a criminal,” read a statement by UDF leader Musalia Mudavadi.
“We condemn this inhumane treatment of a senior official… who did not resist arrest, was not armed and did not pose any immediate threat,” Mudavadi added.