Kenyan Suspected Separatists Attack Coast Town; At Least 7 Dead

Kenyan police shot dead six suspected separatists when they attacked a casino in the coastal town of Malindi, a police official said.

The raid took place at 2 a.m. in the town, 425 kilometers (264 miles) southeast of the capital, Nairobi, regional police chief Aggrey Adoli said in a phone interview today. A policeman died in the confrontation that involved more than 100 suspected members of the Mombasa Republican Council, he said.

“Seven people were killed, including our officer, when the MRC tried to attack the casino,” Adoli said. “The police managed to repulse them.” An unspecified number of people were injured, he said.

The MRC, which says it has 2 million members, is seeking self-rule in the coastal region of Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy. The group says the area, which serves as the main gateway for regional trade, has been marginalized from centralized power in Nairobi, leaving its residents poor and jobless.

Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed when suspected members of the group carried out three separate attacks in the coast region ahead of the March 4 presidential election. The MRC had called for a boycott of the vote.

Almost 1.4 million people in Kenya’s Coast Province, or about 60 percent of the population, live in poverty compared with the national average of about 53 percent of people who are too poor to pay for basic goods, according data compiled by the country’s statistics bureau and the World Bank.

The MRC wants indigenous people to have more control over the port of Mombasa, East Africa’s biggest, and reap greater benefits from beach-tourism revenue as well as investment in titanium, iron ore, gold and oil exploration in the area.

To contact the reporter on this story: Benard Sanga in Nairobi at bonyari@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net

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