Kenya arrests over Mpeketoni coast attacks

Kenya police observe the remains of burnt-out cars at a police station in Mpeketoni on 16 June 2014 Police vehicles and buildings were set on fire during Sunday and Monday's violence

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Several people have been arrested over this week's deadly attacks on Kenya's coast including suspected ringleaders, the local police chief has said.

David Kimaiyo also said that someone had been arrested for using social media to say that Somali Islamist group al-Shabab was behind the attacks.

Some 60 people were killed in two days of violence in Mpeketoni, near Lamu.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has denied al-Shabab's claim to be behind the raids and has blamed local political groups.

Singled out

"We have arrested several suspects in connection to Mpeketoni incident including the owner and driver of one the vehicles used by attackers," Mr Kimaiyo said on Twitter.

"Also in police custody is a suspect who was operating social media accounts purportedly used by al-Shabab to claim responsibility."

Residents chant slogans as they protest along the streets of Mpeketoni after gun attacks. Photo: 17 June 2014. Residents have taken to the streets of Mpeketoni to protest at the security situation in the town
Goats roam around burnt-out cars and tractors in the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni on 18 June 2014

Gunmen killed dozens of people in attacks in Mpeketoni, near the tourist resort of Lamu island, on Sunday. Hotels and a police station were among the locations targeted.

They went on to carry out further assaults in villages nearby on Monday.

Al-Shabab has said it was behind both attacks, in revenge for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and the killing of Muslims.

Kenya sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to help the weak UN-backed government defeat the militants.

Al-Shabab in 60 seconds

President Kenyatta denied al-Shabab's claims and blamed local political leaders for what he called well-planned ethnic violence.

Most of the dead were ethnic Kikuyus, like the president. Non-Muslims were singled out to be killed.

Protests

Opposition parties have criticised Mr Kenyatta's comments, saying they could compromise investigations.

Raila Odinga, a former prime minister, said it was wrong to links politics and the rallies his parties had been holding to the deadly attacks.

Protesters have taken to the streets of Mpeketonito rally against what they see as the government's failure to provide enough security.

Meanwhile the Kenyan Red Cross says about 800 households have fled the violence and taken refuge in three camps in Lamu County.

It said there was a risk that ethnic tensions could increase in the aftermath and that there was an emerging threat of retaliation.

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