By THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer
At least 10 people were killed in a small coastal town of Poromoko, Kenya on Tuesday in a new attack by armed gunmen.
Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda-linked group, claims responsibility and said the attack is part of its quest for vengeance for a Somali attack
However, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta blames the attack on “local political networks,” and said it was politically motivated. “Attack was well planned, politically motivated, therefore wasnot an al-Shabaab terrorist attack,” he said during a televised news conference. “Evidence indicates that local political network involved in the planning of the heinous crime.”
The latest attack followed a Sunday incident in which Somali armed gunmen raided the town of Mpekatoni and killed 48 unsuspecting spectators in a town hall as they watched the World Cup on television. No arrest has yet been made, but officials said the al-Shabaab group is likely a prime suspect in that attack.
In both attacks witnesses said non-Muslim men were targeted.
Residents quickly fled the area into nearby forests, fearing the gunmen would return to the town.
This month’s attacks follow a wave of explosive attacks on civilians in the East African nation since last September’s attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, when gunmen raided the shopping mall and killed 67 people.
Following last month’s attacks in the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia upgraded their terror warning alerts for the country.
Tourism has dropped around the coastal area. Kenyan tourism brings in 12 percent of nation’s GDP, the second highest revenue after the nation’s agricultural industry.
The gunfire and explosive attacks in Kenya mirror similar increased terrorist attacks in other regions of Africa by extremist Islamist or militant groups.
Also, in recent months, extremist Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks in the Northern cities of Nigeria, including the killing of more than 200 innocent civilians and the kidnapping of 200-plus schoolgirls from their boarding school.
African leaders have pledged to take steps in winning the war against terrorism on the continent. The U.S. has also announced increased security support to African nations, sending security personnel to help train African security personnel.
Until two decades ago, terrorism was unfathomable in most African nations and limited to a small region. The increased attacks in recent months have brought the international spotlight on Africa as investors keep a watchful eye on the situations.
Analysts say foreign investment hasn’t been affected and continues to flow into the continent. But going forward, analysts emphasize increased security could be key to investors and say that it’s really about how each region deals with its security situation.