Recent Attacks in Kenya may Point to al-Shabab

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Impunity Watch News Reporter, Africa


Wave of violence in coastal city shakes Kenyans – a dozen are missing.

Recent attacks in Mpeketoni and two nearby towns took the lives of about 50 people and led to the abduction of about a dozen women.  But amidst the heartbreak, there are questions regarding who bears the responsibility for the attacks. 

The attacks appear to have been extremely well orchestrated; phone lines were even jammed to ensure that residents could not sound the alarm about the attacks on the city. 

al-Shabab, an Islamic militant organization, has accepted responsibility for the attack on the coastal city of Mpeketoni. 

The organization even cited the motive of revenge against Kenya for presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and the oppression of Muslims. Following the Monday attacks, some witnesses claim to have seen the attackers flying the al-Shabab flag and yelling in Somali. 

These pieces of evidence support al-Shabab’s involvement and orchestration of the attack.  Furthermore, earlier this month, an al-Shabab leader called the militant group to target Kenya in attacks in order to exact revenge and convey frustration and anger towards Kenya.

But despite al-Shabab’s acceptance of responsibility, some, including President Kenyatta, are hesitant to accept this as a legitimate answer, and instead point to local ethnic and political tensions. 

The attacks occurred in hotels and a police station where many were gathered around to watch the World Cup.   

Despite witness reports that support al-Shabab’s involvement, critics of the notion that al-Shabab was at the helm of the recent attacks point to the attack itself as support that this could not have been the militant group that claimed responsibility.  For example, the attack and the abduction of a dozen women, does not necessarily fit the normal pattern of al-Shabab attacks. 

Critics assert that the militant group normally carries out attacks in an indiscriminate way, with men, women, and children as targets.  In the attacks on Mpeketoni and the nearby towns, the deaths do not seem to follow this pattern; rather, men were the targets for the killings.

Foreigners were not targeted in the attacks, but are still urged to take precautions, and if possible, leave the area, as tensions remain high.  Britain has also issued a warning to nearby east African countries, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, cautioning that al-Shabab may be at work and further attacks may be in the near future. 

It is important to note that these nations also have troops in Somalia.   For now, Kenyans are left to pick up the pieces while they search for answers to their questions and fears. 

For more information, please visit:

BBC News- Kenya Attacks ‘Women Abducted’ near Mpeketoni- 17 June 2014

Z News- After al-Shabab attacks, women kidnapped near Kenya’s Mpeketoni- 17 June 2014

CNN News- Mpeketoni attack was done by local networks, Kenya’s President says- 17 June 2014

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