'Women abducted' in Kenya attack

MPEKETONI - At least 12 women were abducted during the latest attack on Kenya's coast, which also left 15 people dead, residents have told the BBC.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has blamed "local political networks" for the overnight raid on two villages near the town of Mpeketoni.

But Somalia's al-Shabab group had earlier said it was behind the attack.

At least 49 people died in a separate raid on hotels and a police station in Mpeketoni on Sunday.

Al-Shabab said it was revenge for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and the killing of Muslims.

Kenya sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to help the weak UN-backed government defeat the militants.

'Politically motivated'

The attacks were "well planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence against the Kenyan community", President Kenyatta said in a national address on Tuesday.

"Evidence indicates that local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of a heinous crime," he added.

He did not give further details of the suspected attackers. However, he said the police in Mpeketoni were given advance intelligence about the attack, but did not act on it.

The Kenyan Red Cross says around 50 people are still missing from Sunday's raid on Mpeketoni. The body of a 49th victim was taken to the town on Tuesday.

"There's no time to mourn, we're just burying [the victims]," a resident told the BBC's Anne Soy in the town.

Al-Shabab fighters have carried out a number of deadly attacks in Kenya in recent months

"We raided villages around Mpeketoni again last night," al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.

He was later quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that the militants "have been going to several places looking for military personnel". He said most of those killed were police officers and wildlife wardens.

New tactic?

Kenyan police said the gunmen raided two villages in the Poromoko district near Mpeketoni late on Monday.

The authorities said the militants jammed a telecommunication system before the killings to prevent villagers from raising the alarm.

In Sunday's attack, al-Shabab appeared to target men, in many cases leaving their wives and children unharmed.

The BBC's Dennis Okari in Nairobi says this would be a new tactic for the group.

Mpeketoni, near Lamu Island, is not a tourist resort. It appears the attackers were not interested in foreigners or their interests, our correspondent says.

After last year's Westgate attack in Nairobi - al-Shabab's most deadly raid in Kenya - the group received a lot of criticism for killing women and children.

For fear of losing support from sympathisers, perhaps there is a change in the style of attacks and targets are more profiled, our correspondent says.

Kenya has been on high alert recently following warnings that al-Shabab was planning more attacks.

The US and UK have issued advisories to their nationals to keep away from parts of the Kenyan coast and hundreds of British tourists were evacuated last month.

Last week, the UK closed its consulate in the port city of Mombasa.

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