MOMBASA Kenya Dec 10 Sixty men armed with
machetes, clubs and bows and arrows tried and failed to steal
guns from a police station in Mombasa, in the biggest attack
planned by separatists seeking independence for Kenya's Indian
Ocean coastal strip, police said on Monday.
Police intercepted the men on their way to the station. They
said they belonged to the secessionist Mombasa Republic Council
(MRC), an accusation rejected by its leaders, and that three
separatists were later killed in a raid on a MRC hideout.
With a national election due next year, the first since a
disputed 2007 vote, police say they are concerned about rising
violence by the MRC, campaigning for secession in the trade hub
and popular tourist destination.
Local police chief Julius Wanjohi said police believed the
men involved in the failed attack were planning to steal their
guns. "They may have been...planning to cause trouble ahead of
the elections, but they had better not try it because we are
prepared for them."
Police said four men arrested early on Monday admitted to
being MRC members and led authorities to a hideout where they
believed the MRC chairman was based.
"When we got there, we were attacked by arrows and stones
from unknown people who were on top of the building. We shot
back killing three," Wanjohi said.
A crackdown against the MRC by the Kenyan government has
seen most of its leaders arraigned in court over the past few
The MRC denied involvement in the planned raid on the police
station and distanced itself from those involved.
"We have told our members to be calm, and warned them that
if they engaged in any unlawful activities, they will be on
their own," Randu Nzai Ruwa, the MRC secretary, told Reuters.
(Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing
by Duncan Miriri and Myra MacDonald)