One day after gunmen terrorized the coastal town of Mpeketoni, Kenya, slaughtering 48 people, a second attack on the nearby villages Poromoko and Pagani left at least nine more dead, according to local police.
Al Shabaab, the Somalian militant Islamist group behind the 2013 Westgate Mall assault, claimed responsibility for the first attack yesterday, saying the killings were in retaliation against Kenya for placing troops in Somalia. Its statement read in part:
"We fully secured the town for 10 hours before withdrawing, leaving behind a trail of destruction and scores dead."
The Wall Street Journal reports frustration with the lack of police presence around Mpeketoni among residents:
About seven kilometers outside Mpeketoni, residents had set up a makeshift security checkpoint on the way to Poromoko and Pagani. There were no police in sight. "The police are scared," said Joseph Ganda, a motorcycle taxi driver who was manning the roadblock.
Few details are available about the assaults in Poromoko and Pagani, but new reporting from the WSJ paints a clearer picture of the brutality in Mpeketoni:
Sunday's attack was described by residents as methodical. Dozens of gunmen split into three groups, one headed toward the cinema where many were watching a World Cup match, another toward two hotels and a third to the center of town. The gunmen shouted "God is great!" and in some cases asked men to recite Quranic verses before shooting those who couldn't, they said.
Residents have reportedly been sleeping in the woods outside of town in case the gunmen return.
[Image via AP]