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Kenya Coast Hit by New Attacks as Police Hunt Assailants

Burnt Out Cars Sit at a Police Station in Mpeketoni
Kenya police observe the remains of burnt-out cars at a police station in Mpeketoni. Photographer: Simon Maina/AFP via Getty Images

June 17 (Bloomberg) -- Unidentified gunmen carried out more attacks at Kenya’s coast yesterday, a day after killing 49 people in raids on two towns in the area, police and emergency workers said.

At least nine people were killed in the latest attack at Poromoko near Mpeketoni in southeastern Kenya, Interior Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku’s spokesman Mwenda Njoka said by phone today from the capital, Nairobi. Police spokeswoman Zipporah Mboroki confirmed the incident, though she didn’t have further details.

On June 15, gunmen attacked the towns of Mpeketoni and nearby Kibaoni, about 220 kilometers (137 miles) northeast of the port city of Mombasa, shooting residents and setting ablaze buildings including two hotels, an Equity Bank Ltd. branch, restaurants and houses. Ole Lenku traveled to the area yesterday to help coordinate police operations.

Kenya has faced a spate of attacks since it deployed troops in Somalia to fight al-Shabaab, which is trying to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state. The latest incident is the deadliest since al-Shabaab’s Sept. 21 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi killed at least 67 people.

Agence France-Presse reported al-Shabaab issued statements claiming responsibility for the attacks on June 15 and yesterday. The al-Qaeda-linked group also warned foreign tourists not to visit Kenya because it is a “war zone,” AFP said.

The raids have hurt Kenyan tourism, with arrivals to the East African country falling to 1.4 million last year from 1.7 million in 2012. The industry is the nation’s second-biggest source of foreign currency, generating $1.1 billion in 2013.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ilya Gridneff in Nairobi at igridneff@bloomberg.net; Joseph Burite in Mombasa at jburite@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net Paul Richardson, Alastair Reed

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