A number of extremists have attacked a coastal town in Kenya killing many who could not give correct answers to questions regarding Islam and those who did not know the official Somali language, said witnesses and officials on Monday. As many as 48 people had been killed and two hotels set afire.
The gruesome assault began on Sunday night in Mpeketoni as residents were watching the World Cup. It lasted until early on Monday with little or no resistance by security forces in Kenya. At daybreak, buildings and cars could be seen smoldering.
Local authorities put the blame on al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda linked Somalia terror organization, who has vowed to continue terror attacks to avenge military presence by Kenya in Somali.
Like the terrorists that attacked Westgate Mall in Nairobi last year, the attackers in Mpeketoni gave religious tests that were life or death, said one witness, killing those as well who are non-Muslim.
One survivor of the attack said men came to her home and her husband said the family was Christians and the men shot him in the chest and head.
Another witness said two of his brothers had been killed because the militants were not pleased that the two could not speak Somali.
At one of the hotels set ablaze, the gunmen took the men aside and ordered all the women to look on as they shot and killed the men, saying it is the same thing troops from Kenya were doing to Somali men.
David Kimaiyo the top police commander in Kenya said 48 had been killed, while a spokesperson for the police said authorities thought dozens of attackers were involved.
Mpeketoni is only 20 miles from Lamu a tourist center. The majority of tourism in the small town is local, with just a few foreigners ever visiting the region.
Kenya has gone through a number of explosive attacks with a lot of gunfire over recent months.
The Ministry of the Interior said that two minivans arrived Sunday night to the town. The militants then disembarked and started shooting.
Lamu is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and the oldest continually inhabited town in Kenya.