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Kenya violence not the work of al-Shabaab militants, President Kenyatta says

63 people were killed in two incidents in the past two days.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   June 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM   |   Comments

NAIROBI , Kenya, June 17 (UPI) -- Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta claimed Tuesday recent violence in the country was not the work of al-Shabab militants from neighboring Somalia, but of domestic enemies of his government.

At least 15 people were killed overnight, after 48 people were killed in assaults Sunday in Lamu County on the country's coast.

"The attack in Lamu was well planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence against a Kenyan community. This, therefore, was not an Al Shabab terrorist attack. Evidence indicates local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of the heinous attacks. This also played into the opportunist network of other criminal gangs," Kenyatta said in a televised address.

He offered no proof of his claim and did not specify what constituted "local political networks." Al-Shabaab, which has carried out attacks in Kenya in retaliation for Kenya's involvement in fighting the extremist group in Somalia, beginning in 2011, already claimed responsibility for the Lamu attacks.

Analysts regard Kenyatta's remarks as a diversion meant to reduce blame for the government's inability to protect Kenyan citizens and its weakness in dealing with the Islamic militant group.

The violence Sunday occurred in Mpeketoni -- a town near the resort of Lamu Island -- as gunmen went house-to-house while the population was engaged in watching the World Cup soccer tournament on television, witnesses said. Men were taken to a hotel and shot to death; a police station was also targeted.

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