Al-Shabab Islamist terrorists stormed the Kenyan coastal town of Mpeketoni and two surrounding villages, killing at least 49. Residents also reported that at least 12 women were abducted by the terrorists.
Hotels, restaurants, government offices and banks were the main targets, with those establishments burned to the ground in the overnight raid which began Sunday night.
Cafes and bars were reportedly filled at the time of the attacks as late-night patrons were watching the World Cup on TV.
Although the government is blaming bandits for the attack, al-Shabab – an al-Qaeda-linked group — took responsibility for the attack. "We raided villages around Mpeketoni again last night," al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters on Tuesday.
District deputy commissioner Benson Maisori said, “There were around 50 attackers, heavily armed in three vehicles, and they were flying the Shabab flag. They were shouting in Somali and shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is Greatest’).”
Kenyan authorities also said that the terrorists jammed the area’s telecommunication system before the attack to prevent citizens from sounding an alarm.
As they claimed in their horrific attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in which 67 were killed (with some tortured to death), Al-Shabab claimed that this attack was also in retaliation for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia as well as for killing Muslims.
Kenya sent security personnel into southern Somalia in 2011 to combat the terrorist group. At present, the Kenyans are a part of an African Union force that now numbers 22,000 members guarding in Somalia.
Update: Two nights later, a suicide bomber riding a taxi tricycle denotated at a World Cup outdoor viewing spot in a northeastern city in Nigeria, killing at leat 15. Although there was no immediate confirmation, authorities are operating on the assumption that the Islamist terror group Boko Haram was responsible for the attack. The group has targeted such viewing centers in the past as well as sports bars. Two other explosions killed at least 40 people in two northern cities in Nigeria in the last weeks.