Lamu governor arrested over attacks

By BBC

Lamu Governor Issa Timamy is due to appear in court on Thursday

Police have arrested Lamu governor Issa Timamy in connection with a series of gun attacks in the coastal town of Mpeketoni earlier this month that killed at least 60 people.

Timamy,  is due to appear in court on Thursday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has blamed “local political networks” for the violence.

But the Somali Islamist group, al-Shabab, said it was behind the attacks.

Mr Timamy belongs to the opposition Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD), which is led by former PM Raila Odinga.

Separatist arrests

President Kenyatta has dismissed al-Shabab’s claims because members of one ethnic group were targeted in the attacks.

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

Opposition parties have ridiculed Mr Kenyatta’s claim, including Mr Odinga, who has called for dialogue with the government to address the security failings.

The authorities also announced on Wednesday that they had arrested 13 alleged separatists accused of planning more attacks on the coast.

In a statement, the interior ministry said those arrested were suspected of plotting “ethnic cleansing” attacks and were members of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a coastal separatist group.

On Tuesday, five people were killed in attack by an armed gang on the village of Witu, about 15km (nine miles) from the town of Mpeketoni.

Last week’s attacks in Mpeketoni started on the evening of 15 June as locals were watching a football World Cup match on television.

Gunmen went on to carry out further assaults in villages nearby the next day.

The Kenyan government has since issued advice urging people to watch World Cup matches at home rather than gathering in bars or others public places.