NAIROBI — Twenty-two people were killed in overnight attacks by gunmen on the Kenyan coast, the Kenya Red Cross said Sunday. Al Qaeda-linked militants claimed responsibility but Kenyan officials blamed local separatists.
The Saturday night attacks left 13 dead in the town of Hindi and nine dead and one person missing in the town of Gamba, in neighboring Lamu and Tana Delta counties, Kenya Red Cross chief Abbas Gulet said.
Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants from Somalia claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attacks — just like they did for others last month that killed 65 people. Police in Kenya, however, said preliminary investigations pointed to a Kenyan separatist group on the coast.
The attacks come as tensions are rising over a planned protest rally Monday in Nairobi by the opposition, which wants the government to convene national talks over security issues, the increasing cost of living, corruption, and the disbandment of the electoral authority. Many fear the protests could further divide the nation along tribal lines.