back to top

At Least 48 People Killed In An Attack On A Coastal Kenyan Town

Gunmen reportedly attacked hotels and a police station in the town of Mpeketoni. Authorities blamed the terrorist organization al-Shabab.

Posted on

Eyewitnesses told the BBC that the men hijacked a van and used it to attack various parts of the town.

STRINGER/AFP / Getty Images

The gunmen wore masks over their face, threw explosives in the local police station, and then entered the station and stole weapons.

Witnesses said the gun battle went on for hours, and that many buildings were set on fire, such as this home.

STRINGER/AFP / Getty Images

Police Chief Hamaton Mwaliko said they also set fire to several hotels in the area, adding that "the attackers have already fled but our officers are pursuing them."

Major Emmanuel Chirchir, the Kenyan army spokesman, said the "assailants [are] likely to be al-Shabab."

STRINGER/AFP / Getty Images

Prior to this attack, the U.S. and the U.K. advised their nationals to keep away from the Kenyan coast as the country had been on high alert following warnings that al-Shabab was planning more attacks.

Al-Shabab is Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked terror group.

Witnesses also reportedly told the Associated Press that the gunmen killed non-Muslims, and those who don't speak Somali.

"Like the gunmen who attacked Nairobi's Westgate Mall last year, the Mpeketoni attackers gave life-or-death religious tests, a witness said, killing those who were not Muslim," the Associated Press reported.

Most of the residents in Mpeketoni are said to be Christian.

Cate Sevilla is the UK managing editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.