Share This Page

Kenyan president shifts fault for attacks

| Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 8:15 p.m.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday that two nights of deadly attacks on the nation's coast were not the work of Somali militants, who have claimed responsibility for the violence. Instead, Kenyatta blamed local leaders, whom he accused of seeking to “divide” the country.

“This was not an al-Shabab terrorist attack,” Kenyatta said in a televised address a day after armed militants struck the coast for the second night in a row, killing at least 15 people in the village of Poromoko.

The president did not go into detail or name suspects, but he blamed local leaders for what he called “well-planned, orchestrated and politically motivated violence.”

The statement was made despite al-Shabab's claim of responsibility for the attacks, which began on Sunday night when militants laid siege to the town of Mpeketoni, killing 48 people.

On Monday, the group released a statement saying its fighters burned a police station, bank, hotels and other buildings in revenge for the killings of several clerics in the Kenya city of Mombasa and the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia. The group declared Kenya a “war zone” and warned tourists to stay home.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the group took responsibility for the attack in Poromoko and vowed that the violence would continue.

Witnesses to both incidents said the attackers appeared to be targeting victims based on religion.

But the area where the violence took place, near the resort town of Lamu, has a history of ethnic tensions, locals say. The towns that were attacked are populated primarily by Kikuyus, the same ethnic group to which Kenyatta belongs.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.