| MOMBASA, Kenya
MOMBASA, Kenya Oct 5 A gang of youths
brandishing machetes attacked a Kenyan cabinet minister at a
public meeting and killed his bodyguard before the crowd beat
three of the attackers to death, police said on Friday.
Fisheries Minister Amason Kingi was unharmed in the Thursday
night incident, which police blamed on a separatist group
campaigning for the secession of Kenya's coastal strip.
"We believe these are the people who are coming from the
Mombasa Republican Council (MRC). We know they have bad
intentions for this region. We know that they are armed to
engage in unlawful activities," Aggrey Adoli, the coastal
region's police chief, told reporters.
Two of the attackers escaped, Adoli said.
MRC spokesman Mohamed Mraja denied the allegation.
"The police are not telling the truth. We were never
involved," he told reporters.
"We know there are politicians who are competing for
political seats in the coming elections, and are even enemies
with each other. They are targeting to outdo one another using
any means including sending of militia to disrupt one another's
meetings. When this happens it is blamed on MRC."
Mraja's group has unnerved investors in the region, heavily
dependent on tourism, by threatening to disrupt March elections
if its demands for secession are rejected by Kenyan authorities.
Last month more than 100 people were killed as tribes fought
over land, adding to fears of serious unrest ahead of the polls.
Nearly a quarter of Kenyans expect a presidential vote in
March to be marred by post-election violence, an opinion poll
showed on Friday.
(Writing by James Macharia; editing by Andrew Roche)