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Local political leaders behind massacres: Kenya president

Posted on Jun 17 2014 | IANS

Nairobi, June 17 : Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday blamed the local political network for overnight killing of over 60 people in the country's coastal town in the last two days, denying any involvement of Somali militant group Al-Shabaab in the massacre, a media report said.

"Evidence indicates that local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of the heinous attacks," the Daily Nation cited the president as saying during his televised address in Nairobi.

Kenyatta's statement came after Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the atatcks Sunday and Monday that have left at least 60 killed and many others injured.

President Kenyatta promised action against hate speech and ethnic intolerance and criticised the political leaders for propagating ethnic divisions, the report said.

"There is no constitutional protection for hate speech, incitement and other abuses of free speech. This rhetoric is unacceptable and will not be condoned," Kenyatta warned.

The president also said that the local security officials had a prior intelligence about possible attacks, but they failed to act on it.

He added that all the "negligent" officers have been suspended and would be charged in court for abdicating their responsibility.

Kenyatta urged the citizens to be vigilant and to avoid speculation.

The initial Sunday attack killed 48 people in Mpeketoni when gunmen arrived into the coastal town in minivans and went on a firing rampage.

The attackers also destroyed property and vehicles, burning a police station, petrol station and a building housing banks and hotels in the town.

More than 20 cars, including those belonging to the police, were burnt.

A second attack Monday night left at least 15 dead and several houses were torched in nearby village Poromoko in the same area.

The Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the two attacks, but Kenya's Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku Tuesday insisted that the killings were politically motivated.

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